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ChristianaCare establishes first translational cancer research post-doctoral fellowship at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute

$1M grant focuses on cancer stem cell research in an effort to advance the pace of bench to bedside cancer treatments

Lead Scientist Jennifer Sims Mourtada, Ph.D., director of the Breast Translational Cancer Research Program at the Cawley Center for Translational Cancer Research (CTCR), has received $1,160,681 from the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation to establish a first-of-its-kind translational cancer research fellowship at ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.

The five-year grant expands current research partnerships with the Moseley Foundation by providing fellowships to support one to two fellows per year.

The fellowship will broaden Cawley CTCR training opportunities for early career Ph.D.s and physician scientists in academic medicine or translational cancer research with a major focus on cancer stem cells.

“The Moseley Foundation’s fellowship grant will spur the momentum of our cancer stem cell research program with support for an essential element —the post-doctoral training of our translational research fellows,” said Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America endowed medical director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute. “As Delaware’s leader in cancer treatment, genetics and clinical trials, this support will strengthen our efforts to integrate basic cancer research into clinical practice that ultimately translates into advanced treatment for our patients.”

The Cawley CTCR offers post-doctoral fellows a unique opportunity to collaborate with experienced clinicians and scientists in an academic setting at one of the few translational research facilities integrated into a community cancer center.

“Our goal is to provide trainees with extensive knowledge, skills and experience to develop productive careers as translational cancer researchers and allow training of the next generation of translational scientists to continue to be a priority in the Cawley CTCR,” said Dr. Sims Mourtada. “It is our expectation that this program will serve as another conduit to attract talented clinicians and scientists to Delaware.”

Each year, a Cawley CTCR advisory committee, chaired by Dr. Sims Mourtada and consisting of scientists and clinicians at the Graham Cancer Center and partnering institutions, will select one or two research fellows in Translational Cancer Stem Cell Research.

Research fellows will receive extensive training in translational cancer research that will allow them to excel as independent researchers. Although they will receive intensive training in a single area of research, they will also receive broad-based exposure to clinical research and all aspects of cancer care. Each fellow will focus full-time on laboratory research.

“Successful translation of biomedical discoveries into cancer treatments depends on a highly skilled research workforce,” said Dr. Sims Mourtada. “It is our intent to train fellows to identify important questions and approaches that will move the field forward and lead to more timely and impactful translation of research findings into clinical cures.”

Outcomes expected from each fellow accepted into this program will include presentations at research conferences/symposia and at national meetings, peer-reviewed first author publications, and development of an independent research project.

The Lisa Dean Moseley Fellowship in Cancer Stem Cell Research is made possible through funding generously provided by the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation based in Wilmington, Delaware.

For information about applying for the fellowship, visit this website.


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About ChristianaCare

Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, ChristianaCare is one of the country’s most dynamic health care organizations, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible and lowering health care costs. ChristianaCare includes an extensive network of primary care and outpatient services, home health care, urgent care centers, three hospitals (1,430 beds), a freestanding emergency department, a Level I trauma center and a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a comprehensive stroke center and regional centers of excellence in heart and vascular care, cancer care and women’s health. It also includes the pioneering Gene Editing Institute.

ChristianaCare is nationally recognized as a great place to work, rated by Forbes as the 2nd best health system for diversity and inclusion, and the 29th best health system to work for in the United States, and by IDG Computerworld as one of the nation’s Best Places to Work in IT. ChristianaCare is rated by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals and continually ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek and other national quality ratings. ChristianaCare is a nonprofit teaching health system with more than 260 residents and fellows. With its groundbreaking Center for Virtual Health and a focus on population health and value-based care, ChristianaCare is shaping the future of health care.

About the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute
The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program, is part of the ChristianaCare, one of the country’s most dynamic health systems, centered on improving health outcomes, making high-quality care more accessible and lowering health care costs. With more than 245,000 patient visits last year, the Graham Cancer Center is recognized as a national model for multidisciplinary cancer care and a top enroller in U.S. clinical research trials. In conjunction with the Gene Editing Institute, the Center for Translational Cancer Research, the Tissue Procurement Center, statewide High-Risk Family Cancer Registry and collaborations with world-renowned scientists at facilities such as The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia scientists are opening new avenues to more quickly translate cancer science into cancer medicine. For more information, visit

About the Cawley Center for Translational Cancer Research
The Cawley Center for Translational Cancer Research (CTCR) at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute moves research from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside by applying basic science toward potential therapies. The Cawley CTCR is where scientists study the molecular causes of cancer, tissue engineering and gene editing, all targeted to better treatment for patients. Groundbreaking findings and current studies at the center are helping to prevent, better detect and stop the growth of many cancers — and as a result reducing cancer incidence and mortality rates in Delaware.