American Urological Association - AUA Investigator Summer/Fall 2017


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AUA Investigator Summer/Fall 2017

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Feature Articles

Reversing the Trend: Providing Robust Support for Early-Career Investigators at Annual Meeting

Article by Aria F. Olumi, MD

Early-Career Investigators
From left to right: Drs. Simpa Salami, Aria F. Olumi, Gregory E. Tasian and Christopher E. Barbieri.

A recent editorial published in Nature remarked on the well-known and still troubling decline of the surgeon-scientist workforce, which is often attributed to decreasing trends in protected research time, training and funding. A current physician-scientist workforce analysis, conducted by the AUA Research Grants and Investigator Support Committee and the AUA Leadership Program, further confirmed these attitudes in the urology community, despite having recognized the critical importance of research for advancing patient care.

The AUA remains actively engaged in providing robust support for early-career investigators to help reverse this trend, and the AUA Annual Meeting continues to be an important vehicle for advancing the careers of urology physician-scientists and researchers. In 2017, the AUA Office of Research coordinated eight different meetings and symposia for the urology research community, which accounted for over 40% of the total CME credits available at the Annual Meeting. Importantly, each of these events was designed to incorporate and support early-career investigators.

The increasingly competitive "Early-Career Investigators Showcase" is the only session during the AUA Annual Meeting that is completely dedicated to the work of early-career investigators. AUA Sections and sub-specialty societies are invited to nominate physician-scientists and researchers to present a poster at the event, and 10 nominees are selected through a peer-review process to give a podium presentation. These talks are judged by senior investigators and certificates are presented to the top three presenters. The 2017 first, second and third place awardees were Christopher E. Barbieri, MD, PhD; Simpa Salami, MD, MPH; and Gregory E. Tasian, MD, MSCE, respectively.

In addition, the "Funding Opportunities and Grant Writing Guidance for Early-Career Investigators" continues to be a growing event as well at the Annual Meeting. This two-hour symposium provides critically-needed advice on how to compose successful grant applications, as well as how to navigate federally-funded and association grant programs. Speakers typically include NIH Program Officers and seasoned scientists with excellent track records of extramural funding.

Moreover, the AUA also provides dedicated support to our Urology Care Foundation Research Scholar Awardees. Convened every two years, the "Early-Career Scientist Exchange: Maximize Your Potential" is a focus group that connects our Research Scholars with NIDDK Urology Program Officers, and helps address the challenges they face as they continue to pursue their research careers. In addition, the AUA offers a Travel Award Program to all Research Scholars to help defray travel expenses to the Annual Meeting as well as other relevant specialty and society meetings.

And finally, the AUA Office of Research remains proactive in successfully applying for NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings grants, the funds of which are dedicated to providing travel awards for early-career investigators to attend and network at Office of Research scientific symposia and the Annual Meeting as a whole.

The culmination of this support for young physician-scientists and researchers reaffirms the AUA's commitment to the future of urologic research and the advancement of patient care. Notably, the ferocity of this commitment extends well beyond the long weekend in May and continues to touch all of our research workshops and symposia held year round.

The AUA Launches Program to Advance Community-based Research

The AUA and the Urology Care Foundation have been decades-long facilitators of basic, translational and clinical research in urology, providing support through a large variety of mechanisms for research funding and education. Over $30 million has been invested since 1975 in research funding and the number of scientific symposia and educational workshops offered annually continues to grow.

The vast majority of this support has been for physician-scientists and researchers in the academic setting. However, recognizing the vast potential in research discovery and improvements for patients that could be realized by increasing the number of urology practices engaged in research, the AUA and the Foundation, in 2015 and in partnership with Chesapeake Urology Associates, began a new initiative to increase education and support for community-based research. The overarching goal is to increase engagement of private practice urologists in research.

The inaugural event for this new initiative was held August 11-12, 2017 at the AUA Headquarters and was a workshop titled "Success in Community-based Urology Research: Engagement, Collaboration, and Resources." Organized by key leaders in community-based urology research–Dr. Neal Shore, President of the Large Urology Group Practices Associates (LUGPA) and Director of the Carolina Urologic Research Center; Dr. Ronald Tutrone, Medical Director of Chesapeake Urology Research Associates; Dr. Grannum Sant, Professor of Urology at Tufts University School of Medicine and formerly of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Pivot Pharmaceuticals, and OPKO Health Inc.; and the late Dr. Margaret ("Peggy") Fay, who was Director of Global Clinical Monitoring for Medtronic, among her many accomplishments as a pioneer in clinical research–the workshop brought together academic and industry researchers with community-based urologists interested in engaging in research.

To kick off the workshop, Jim Kremidas, Executive Director of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) described the current landscape for community-based research and implications for urology practices, focusing on success rates in drug development, changes in protocol complexity, challenges and opportunities in enrollment, the impact of technology and the importance of growing a competent clinical research workforce.

Ronald Tutrone, MD, describes how he built a successful community-based research program in his practice.
Ronald Tutrone, MD, describes elements of a successful community-based research programs in urology practice

The workshop sessions focused on:

  • "Developing a Research Toolkit for the Community-based Urologist: Stories of Success and Challenge from Private and Academic Practice"
  • "Considerations for Industry-sponsored versus Investigator-initiated Urology Clinical Trials"
  • "Establishing Research Infrastructure for Large and Small Practices," including presentations on key infrastructure elements, negotiating and managing research budget(s), effective management of research data, the role of CROs in assuring investigator success and support in clinical trials, navigating the changing landscape of regulatory and legal compliance and publishing your research from industry-sponsored clinical trials
  • "Advantages and Mission Diversity of Consortia for Urologic Research," including presentations on Lessons Learned from The CUSP Group, the MUSIC Consortium, CaPSURE and the AUA's AQUA Registry
  • "Taking the Next Steps in Research Development for Your Practice," including presentations on success in initiating and managing collaborations with industry, and unique benefits of academic/community research collaborations and how to achieve them

Speakers included Ronald Tutrone, MD; David Albala, MD; Laurence Belkoff, DO; Grannum Sant, MD; Jeremy Whitson; James Tumlin, MD; Stacey Harrelson, RN; Jon Fryzek, PhD; Domantas Gurevicius, MHSA; Arletta van Breda, RN, MSN; Thomas Paivanas, MHSA; Tom Leyden, MBA; Khurshid Ghani, MD, MS; Peter Carroll, MD, MPH; Matthew R. Cooperberg, MD, MPH; Michael K. Brawer, MD; and Robert Getzenberg, PhD.

Breakout session at the inaugural AUA Community-based Research Workshop
Breakout session at the inaugural AUA Community-based Research Workshop

Finally, in an effort to understand how the AUA and its partners can provide support for helping practices develop a "Private Practice Research Collaboration Toolkit," breakout sessions focused on identifying barriers to staffing a private practice research program, navigating the fiscal considerations of private practice research and identifying new skills needed to address the changing roles and responsibilities in private practice research. It also provided active discussion and goal setting for each private practice participant.

At the end of the workshop, enthusiasm levels for this new initiative were very high, and the AUA looks forward to continuing to build on this early success in supporting the development of community-based urologic research as a key facet of its overall support for advancing practice through research.

Urology Researchers Making a Difference

Highlighting Innovative Bladder Cancer Research: David J. DeGraff, PhD

David J. DeGraff, PhDWork in the DeGraff Laboratory within the Departments of Pathology and Surgery at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine is centered on (1) determining the manner by which transcription factors promote urothelial differentiation; and (2) how alterations in transcription factor expression contribute to bladder cancer development and tumor heterogeneity. To achieve these goals, the members at the DeGraff laboratory use a variety of techniques that include tissue recombination, xenografting and transgenic mouse models.

The group's discovery of an important role for the urothelial differentiation factor, forkhead box A1 (FOXA1), during malignant progression and squamous differentiation in bladder cancers played an essential role in establishing Dr. DeGraff's independent research group at Penn State. Their work continues to elucidate the role of decreased FOXA1 expression in the context of tumor suppressor loss. Their recent work on the ability of FOXA1 to cooperate with GATA3 and PPARɣ—two other transcription factors important in urothelial cell differentiation and malignant progression—was published in Nature Scientific Reports. In addition to characterizing a large panel of human bladder cancer cell lines in regard to gene expression subtype, this recent study showed that these factors cooperate to convert a bladder cancer cell line exhibiting a basal gene expression pattern (often associated with squamous differentiation) into a cell expressing a luminal gene expression pattern. Like in other cancers, these findings suggest that gene expression subtype is "plastic" in bladder cancer, and may be "reprogrammable" in patients. This is important because gene expression subtype in bladder cancer may be prognostically significant, and is reported to correlate to treatment response during the management of bladder cancer. These findings also provide important insights into the molecular origins of tumor heterogeneity, as expression of these factors is often lost in areas of squamous differentiation.

In addition to its strong foundation in the areas of basic urothelial cell biology and cancer biology, work within the DeGraff laboratory is truly interdisciplinary. Postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in Dr. DeGraff's group work closely with clinical faculty within the Division of Urology at Penn State. The Division is led by Jay D. Raman, MD and has been instrumental in working with Pathology to help those in the DeGraff laboratory gain access to clinically annotated human tissue for research purposes. In addition, all members of Dr. DeGraff's group work closely with genitourinary pathologists and computational biologists to provide comprehensive and cutting-edge approaches to address research directions. According to Dr. DeGraff, "The interdisciplinary approach is required for our translational bladder cancer work, and additionally enriches our training environment at Penn State."

In regards to his interactions with the American Urological Association (AUA) Dr. DeGraff states, "I have benefited significantly from my membership in the AUA. Specifically, attendance at the Early-Career Investigators Workshop sponsored by the AUA was essential, as it provided outstanding feedback to strengthen a recent grant submission." The mentorship provided at this workshop culminated in an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant.

"Moreover, I have had an opportunity to 'give back' to the AUA through my work on the Research Education, Conferences & Communications (RECCC) Committee, as well as being a contributor to the update for the bladder cancer section of the National Urology Research Agenda (NURA). Membership in organizations like the AUA and the Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR) has provided an outstanding avenue for my continued career development, as well as a means to interact with members of the urology research community."

Making an Impact: The Urology Care Foundation Residency Research Awards

Urology residents interested in academic urology careers face tremendous pressures that ultimately may guide them away from pursuing research. The Urology Care Foundation Residency Research Award, initiated in 2010, was created to reverse that trend by providing funds to urology programs that allow them to support motivated and exceptional urology residents for active laboratory research under seasoned research mentors. This enables residents to build momentum towards careers that include urologic research. Sponsoring institutions provide matching funds and ensure that the awardee receives robust research support. The 2016–2017 awards were made possible by the Russell Scott Jr., MD Research Fund, Genentech and Olympus.

Read more about our 2016-2017 awardees:

Shannon Cannon, MDShannon Cannon, MD
University of Washington
Dr. Cannon's funded research, "Disparities in Processes of Care for Patients Requiring Complex Kidney Cancer Surgery," was conducted under the mentorship of John Gore, MD. Using a linked SEER-Medicare kidney cancer dataset, Dr. Cannon was able to conduct analyses of patients with localized kidney cancer who were potential candidates for nephron-sparing surgery, a treatment that is considered appropriate and optimal for most patients. She explored issues of access disparity among rural and poor populations, who are less likely to be located near, be referred to, or have means to travel to a high-volume center, and as such are less likely to receive the preferred nephron-sparing treatment for their kidney cancer. According to Dr. Cannon, "The Residency Research Award enabled me to pursue a specific research project of my own design and of my own personal interest. During this year of research, I was able to lay a strong foundation for future research utilizing large dataset analysis."

Heather J. Chalfin, MDHeather J. Chalfin, MD
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Dr. Chalfin completed her prostate cancer study, titled "Identification of Prostate Cancer Marker-Specific Disseminated Tumor Cells (DTCs) from the Bone Marrow (BM) at the time of Radical Prostatectomy," under the mentorship of Kenneth Pienta, MD. These tumor cells provide an opportunity for the early detection of cancer spread prior to the development of clinical metastases that are large enough to be captured on conventional imaging. It is unclear how frequently this occurs in localized disease—past reports showed that 75% of these men already have DTCs, but this relied on epithelial markers that were not specific in the BM. Using prostate-specific markers, Dr. Chalfin found that DTCs are only rarely found in localized prostate cancer patients, changing our understanding of how prostate cancer metastasis occurs. Moving forward, she will be studying DTCs in many different patient groups with the goal of creating a useful test to identify higher-risk patients. Dr. Chalfin writes, "The Residency Research Award allowed me to take my first steps towards my goal of becoming an academic urologist, and helped me to define my research interest in the liquid biopsy. The work we did with this award also led to our new bladder cancer circulating tumor cell project, which has been funded for the upcoming year by the Johns Hopkins Greenberg Bladder Cancer Institute."

Elaina Garbens, MDElaina Garbens, MD
University of Toronto
Dr. Garbens completed her project, titled "The Cost of Errors: A Prospective Look at Surgical Error, Third Party Costs, and Patient Outcomes in Open and Robotic Partial Nephrectomy," under the mentorship of Teodor Grantcharov, MD, PhD. The overall goal of her study was to examine the relationship between technical errors and operating costs, which is becoming more important given restraints in health care budgets and funding. The study suggested that the relationship between technical errors and outcomes was not as strong as predicted, but rather a relationship emerged between technical events and outcomes. Dr. Garbens based her investigation on the use of the Generic Error Rating Tool (GERT), which she successfully redesigned to focus on event reporting. Upon the completion of her project, Dr. Garbens wrote, "The skills I have acquired during my research time will help me be a better clinician as I am now better able to appraise evidence that I will use towards patient care. I believe that this award has helped open more career opportunities to become an academic urologist in the future."

Brian M. Inouye, MD
Duke University Medical Center
Dr. Inouye's project, titled "The Mechanism of Inflammation in Diabetic Bladder Dysfunction," was performed under the mentorship of J. Todd Purves, MD, PhD and F. Monty Hughes, PhD. He sought to explore the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in bladder tissue demonstrating acute diabetic bladder dysfunction (DBD). Dr. Inouye further investigated sequelae of diabetes, polyuria or hyperglycemia, which also showed an association with increased NLRP3 activity. This study resulted in defining a time point for the occurrence of acute DBD in Akita mice, demonstrating that bladder inflammation is associated with acute DBD, and gave evidence that NLRP3 inflammasome activity is increased during acute DBD. Upon the conclusion of his award period, Dr. Inouye wrote, "The funding from this award allowed me to focus on research that excited me: basic animal research. The grant afforded me enough time and resources to complete a project and work on my surgical model. I already had an inkling that I would pursue a career in academic urology, and this experience gave me the tools to pursue a career in basic science research as well."

Research Funding Highlights

Urology Research Funding from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)

The Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) was established through Congressional appropriations in 1992, and its vision is to "Transform healthcare for Service Members and the American public through innovative and impactful research." Using a two-tier formal review system, the CDMRP seeks to fill critical research gaps by investing in groundbreaking research through several different programs, seven of which include urologic research. These programs comprise research in prostate cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, diabetes, interstitial cystitis and polycystic kidney disease. The AUA is a leader in advocating for, and protecting these lines of funding.

The Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) was initiated in 1997 and has since provided $1.53 billion in prostate cancer research funding. The program is currently funded at $90 million for FY17 and prioritizes research that will 1) distinguish aggressive from indolent disease in men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer 2) develop strategies to prevent progression to lethal prostate cancer 3) develop effective treatments and address mechanisms of resistance for men with high risk or metastatic prostate cancer 4) develop strategies to optimize the physical and mental health of men with prostate cancer. Research areas emphasized by the PCRP include biomarker development, genetics, imaging, mechanisms of resistance, survivorship, therapy and tumor and microenvironment biology.

The Kidney Cancer Research Program (KCRP) is the newest addition to the CDMRP that is dedicated to a urologic research area. Kidney cancer research was formerly funded by various programs under the CDMRP, but recent advocacy efforts leveraged by partner organizations of the AUA were successful in establishing the KCRP as its own program, funded at $10 million for FY17, which will represent the largest ever annual CDMRP investment in kidney cancer research. The KCRP supports research projects that focus on prevention, detection, treatment and the long-term effects of treatment for kidney cancer. In order to assist the urologic research community and other disciplines navigate this new line of funding and provide guidance for submitting grant applications, the AUA hosted an informational webinar featuring the DoD's KCRP Program Manager, Donna M. Kimbark, PhD. The webinar recording can be viewed online.

The CDMRP funds bladder cancer research through the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP). Initiated in 2009, this funding mechanism now supports research for 14 different cancer topics and was funded at $60 million for FY17. The PRCRP seeks to fund highly relevant and innovative research focused on cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship.

The Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) is another CDMRP program funding urologic research topics. This program received an appropriation of $300 million for FY17, which was spread over a total of 48 different research topics. Of these topics, diabetes, interstitial cystitis and polycystic kidney disease research was funded.

In addition, research on urologic dysfunction consequent to injury or disease is funded through the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program ($30 million), the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Research Program ($6 million) and the Multiple Sclerosis Research Program ($6 million).

New NIH Policies on Human Subjects Research

The NIH has implemented new policies that impact funded research grants and contracts that involve human subjects research, as well as research that meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial. Knowledge of these changes is especially important as they will affect upcoming grant applications and contract proposals. The changes were implemented to improve transparency and trust in NIH-funded clinical trials, as well as grow the ability of the NIH to identify and describe clinical trials they are supporting. The NIH recently released an informational video that provides an overview of these new policies. View the video today!

Research Resources

The Prostate Cancer Biorepository Network (PCBN) Provides Biospecimens to Urologic Investigators

The Prostate Cancer Biorepository Network (PCBN) is a public bioresource that has been providing tissues and other biospecimens to prostate cancer investigators since 2011. The PCBN is currently a collaboration between Johns Hopkins University, New York University School of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, University of Washington, Washington University and the Department of Defense. The goal of the PCBN is to provide prostate cancer researchers worldwide with high quality, well-annotated specimens obtained in a systematic, reproducible fashion using optimized and standardized protocols. This includes researchers at academic, industry and government institutions. Access to PCBN specimens is open to all prostate cancer researchers and specimens are requested through an application process.

Karen Sfanos, MS, PhD is a co-PI of the PCBN Johns Hopkins Network Site and also a prostate cancer researcher who has utilized the biospecimens available via the PCBN resource in work she is currently conducting as part of a Department of Defense funded Health Disparity Research Award. Dr. Sfanos and her team are using unique Race Disparity Tissue Microarray (TMA) sets in work focused on understanding if differential presence or abundance of certain subsets of immune cells can predict disease aggressiveness or explain why prostate cancer is often more aggressive in African American men. Other unique TMA sets available through the PCBN include a TMA of 140 cases from the MSKCC Cancer Cell genomic profiling study, a 900 case radical prostatectomy TMA set with follow up data, TMA sets designed for association of biomarkers with biochemical recurrence such as a 726 case PSA Progression TMA set and multiple metastasis TMAs. The PCBN also has extensive resources of fixed and frozen tissue, serum matched to primary tissue and derivatives, all from a wide range of tumor aggressiveness and linked to clinical and outcome data.

Studies that have utilized PCBN specimens have been published in high profile journals such as Cancer Discovery (Huang et al.), Cancer Research (Stipp et al., Kelly et al., Knudsen et al.), Nature (Alimonti et al.), PNAS (Hurley et al.) and the New England Journal of Medicine (Antonarakis et al.). Many of the investigators who have utilized the PCBN resource are Young Investigators such as those funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

The PCBN can be followed on Twitter @ProstatePCBN and on Facebook. Any questions can be addressed to

Research and Patient Advocacy

The AUA and the Research Community Continue to Advocate for Key Initiatives at the National Institutes of Health

Federal funding is imperative to advance urologic research, but these lines of funding are constantly subject to change or removal. For example, President Donald Trump, in his fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request, recommended $26.92 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). If enacted, this would be more than $7.2 billion (21 percent) below current levels for biomedical research and would serve a devastating blow to the research community, physicians, patients and their families. This cut also included a proposal to drastically reduce NIH support for facilities and administrative (F&A) expenses (also referred to as "indirect costs") for physical infrastructure and other essential research costs, thus making research unaffordable for many institutions and ultimately lead to less urologic research carried out across the country.

The AUA responded to these specific threats by working closely with like-minded organizations that make up One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC). OVAC is a coalition of national non-profit organizations representing millions of Americans, delivering a unified message to Congress and the White House on the need for increased cancer-related appropriations. OVAC advocacy partners regularly meet with members of Congress to make them aware of the coalition and the impact research has on enhancing quality of life for those living with chronic conditions.

Specifically, the AUA signed several OVAC letters to House/Senate leadership and to key administration officials rejecting this proposal to reduce NIH spending, and, instead, requested an increase in FY18 funding. Furthermore, in June, the AUA joined 34 other groups at OVAC's Capitol Hill fly-in to reiterate this message with lawmakers and staff. In total, the coalition met with over 150 legislative offices during this time.

Efforts to advocate for the importance of NIH research funding appear to be paying off. In mid-July, the U.S. House of Representatives released its version of the FY2018 Department of Health and Human Services spending measure, which includes a proposed increase of $1.1 billion above last year's enacted level. It also contains a “no funds” provision that would block the administration from reducing NIH support for F&A expenses. While plenty of work remains in getting this legislation signed into law, it serves as an excellent sign that Congress does not agree with the President’s budget request. Instead, lawmakers plan on continuing to work in a bipartisan manner and invest more – not less – into medical research.

The promotion of urologic/cancer research funding remains a top legislative priority for the AUA in fiscal year 2018. If you have questions regarding this or any other of the AUA’s ongoing advocacy efforts, please call the Government Relations & Advocacy Department at 202-403-8500 or e-mail

Did You Know?

2018 AUA Annual Meeting Research Travel Awards

The AUA Office of Research is working to offer travel funds to subsidize a portion of travel and lodging costs associated with attendance to the 2018 Basic Sciences Symposium: "Understanding Disorders and Differences in Sexual Development and Male Infertility," to be held at the 2018 AUA Annual Meeting. Funding is currently contingent on NIH R13 grant support, the results of which will not be known until after the travel award application deadline. Applicants must be students, trainees or early-career investigators within ten years of completing residency or postdoctoral training. The application deadline is February 16, 2018. Learn more and apply today!

Attending the 2018 ASCO Genitourinary Cancer Symposium?

In an effort to better connect with oncologists and cancer researchers to strengthen collaborations between urologic oncologists and basic and translational researchers in urology, the AUA will be exhibiting at the 2018 ASCO Genitourinary Cancer Symposium on February 8–10 in San Francisco, CA. If you are attending this event, we invite you to visit the AUA booth to learn about the benefits of AUA membership and how to join other urologic cancer physician-scientists and researchers as members of the AUA. The AUA Director of Research will be on hand to answer questions and provide individualized information. If you're unable to attend this event, visit our website to learn more about the benefits of AUA membership.

Calendar of Research Events

Feb 1-2

NIDDK Individualizing Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

Natcher Center Auditorium | Bethesda, MD

Feb 8-10

ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium: Translating Evidence to Multidisciplinary Care

Moscone West Building | San Francisco, CA

Mar 1-3

AUA Mid-Atlantic Section Annual Meeting

Omni Amelia Island Plantation | Amelia Island, FL

Mar 12-14

AUA Annual Urology Advocacy Summit

Washington, DC

Mar 22-25

AUA Southeastern Section Annual Meeting

Loews Royal Pacific Resort | Orlando, FL

Apr 14-18

AACR Annual Meeting

McCormick Place North/South | Chicago, IL

May 18-21

AUA Annual Meeting

The Moscone Center | San Francisco, CA

Opportunities in Urologic Research

Postdoctoral Trainee

Weill Cornell Medicine

The Faltas Lab at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City is seeking a postdoctoral candidate with a background in cancer biology to lead projects investigating the molecular basis of urothelial cancer oncogenesis, drug-resistance and neoantigenesis using in vitro and in vivo models of bladder cancer. Our well-funded laboratory is a vibrant and stimulating environment for scientific growth and fostering the independent careers of postdoctoral trainees.

Applicants who meet the following requirements are encouraged to apply:

  • PhD or MD/PhD with a background in cancer genomics, cancer biology or immunology. The PhD be awarded/expected date should be between July 2015 - July 2018 (no exceptions).
  • Evidence of productivity from publications in high-quality journals originating from PhD or postdoctoral work. Manuscripts that are finally accepted for publication in high-quality journals will also be considered as evidence of productivity.
  • Significant experience in murine cancer models.
  • Significant expertise in other molecular biology and biochemistry techniques.
  • Additional expertise in basic bioinformatic analysis or tumor immunology is a plus.
  • Capable of working independently with appropriate supervision on assigned projects as well as in a team.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English with good organizational and analytical abilities.
  • Excellent organizational skills, self-motivation and creativity.
  • Motivated to pursue postdoctoral training required for a future independent academic career.

Candidates who meet the above criteria are encouraged to apply. Please email CV, statement of research interests, copies of previous publications and the names and contact information for three references to Bishoy Faltas, MD at

Postdoctoral Position

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Postdoctoral position for an extremely motivated researcher to study the role of urinary bladder smooth muscle ion channels (K+ and TRP channels) and their regulatory mechanisms is available at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) at Memphis, TN in the Laboratory of Georgi V. Petkov, PhD.

Applicants should have a PhD degree with a strong background in physiology, pharmacology, electrophysiology (patch-clamp and/or sharp microelectrodes), cell and molecular biology, bladder cystometry and experience in animal handling and rodent surgery. A good background in urinary bladder smooth muscle function and regulation is strongly required. Applicants should be very skillful in setting up, care and use of laboratory equipment and have ability to develop new and improved methodology. Good communication and organizational skills, and excellent knowledge of English (both oral and written) are required. Applicants should have demonstrated scientific productivity, have a strong publication record, be able to design and execute scientific experiments independently, write manuscripts, prepare and submit competitive fellowship applications and assist with grant writing. Team player spirit and a dedicated attitude toward scientific progress are an absolute must.

This position is available immediately. Please send a CV, letter of interest explaining relevant work experience, statement of research interests, career goals and contact information for 3-5 references to: Georgi V. Petkov, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Memphis, TN (E-mail:

Faculty Position

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN, under the new leadership of Georgi V. Petkov, PhD, Professor and Chair, is seeking an outstanding applicant for a 12-month full-time, tenure-track faculty position at the assistant, associate or full professor level. The successful candidate is expected to have a strong NIH/federally-funded research program in the area of basic urological research or in an area related to the research strengths of the department, included but not limited to pharmacology, drug discovery and development, physiology, electrophysiology, ion channel research, renal (both kidney and lower urinary tract), gene therapy, epigenomics, metabolomics, nanotechnology, nanomedicine, regenerative medicine, bio-imaging, biosensors or other related disciplines. The successful candidate is expected to have a PhD or equivalent degree, the ability to maintain competitive extramural funding, a commitment to excellence in teaching in Pharm.D. and graduate programs, and have excellent oral and written communication skills. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. While this is an independent faculty position, the applicant will have the opportunity to work and collaborate with Dr. Petkov, who is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in urological research related to the ion channels of the detrusor smooth muscle of the urinary bladder.

Please submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, summary of research and teaching interests, names and contact information of three references to: Frank Park, PhD, Chair of Faculty Search Committee, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, by e-mail at

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