Feb. 16, 2024

Winship and UGA award pilot grant for pancreatic cancer research

Photo of Winship and UGA award pilot grant for pancreatic cancer research
Winship-UGA Collaborative Pilot Grant recipients Gregory B. Lesinski, PhD, MPH, and Stephen Hajduk, PhD.

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and the University of Georgia Cancer Center have announced this year’s recipients of the Winship-UGA Collaborative Pilot Grant, a peer-reviewed program that enables faculty members from each institution to partner on promising new lines of cancer research.

Gregory B. Lesinski, PhD, MPH, associate director for basic research and shared resources at Winship and professor and vice chair for basic research in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine, and Stephen Hajduk, PhD, professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology at UGA, received the pilot grant for their project, “Exploring the Therapeutic Potential of Apolipoprotein L1 for Human Cancers.”

Lesinski, who holds the John Kauffman Family Professorship for Pancreatic Cancer Research, studies a variety of solid tumor malignancies with the overall goal of translating novel immune and targeted therapies into clinical trials that benefit patients. Hajduk is primarily interested in the molecular biology and biochemistry of trypanosomes – types of parasites that cause human African sleeping sickness – and exploring innovative approaches for disease intervention. For their Winship-UGA Collaborative Pilot Grant, Lesinski and Hajduk will use ApoL1, a naturally occurring part of the human immune system, to target and kill pancreatic cancer cells in pre-clinical models. In order to bind ApoL1 to cancer cells, the team will leverage pancreatic cancer models within the Lesinski lab and a bispecific antibody-based ApoL1-targeting concept based on the Hajduk lab’s patent-pending technology.

Now in its second funding cycle, the Winship-UGA Collaborative Pilot Grant provides teams with a one-year, $50,000 award ($25,000 per institution) for innovative projects that leverage the strengths and synergies of the two institutions to deliver maximum impact, particularly in Georgia. The peer-reviewed program is funded through Winship Invest$ and UGA’s Office of the Vice President for Research.




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