The goal of the CCII COBRE is to establish a thematic multidisciplinary research center of excellence at the University of Louisville that focuses on improving our understanding of cancer immunology and developing novel immunotherapeutic approaches. Importantly, with the recent clinical successes of immune checkpoint inhibitors and oncolytic viruses, there is great interest and momentum in understanding the interaction between the host immune system and neoplastic cells. Our projects proposing basic immunology research coupled with translational and human specimen studies are expected to ultimately lead to entirely new immunotherapeutic approaches, as well as strategies for overcoming resistance to existing agents. The Administrative Core (AC) will coordinate the professional activities of the more than 40 individuals who will constitute the new Center for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy (CCII). The AC will provide administrative, fiscal, and scientific oversight and planning for junior investigators, mentors, projects, the research core, a pilot program, and advisory committees. In addition to governance functions, the AC will provide key research and mentoring support. This will include the awarding of project grants, assignment of mentors, provision of a grant writing mentorship program, biostatistics and bioinformatics support, compliance and regulatory oversight, mentoring of pilot projects, and encouragement of diversity and inclusion. Internal advisors and an External Advisory Committee (EAC) that consists of five leading scientists in the CCII thematic area will guide the AC. The EAC will provide scientific guidance and constructive feedback regarding center/project progress and be involved in CCII strategic planning and in the selection of replacement and pilot projects. The two PIs of the overall CCII program will direct the AC with key support from two co-Is who have extensive experience administering multi- component grant programs and from two additional co-Is who are well qualified to oversee the essential biostatistics and bioinformatics support. Their efforts will supplement a mentoring program that is anchored by eight senior investigators who are experienced mentors and have been highly productive and well funded in the thematic area. The three specific aims of this Administrative Core that encompass all of these functions are to: (1) Establish procedures for CCII administration, planning, and decision-making; (2) Provide a mentorship program to accelerate the careers of the CCII junior investigators; and (3) Create a CCII pilot grant program that will stimulate new projects and collaborations. Innovative features of the AC are built on lessons learned from establishing other multidisciplinary thematic centers and include a shared governance approach that aims to ensure engagement of all participants and a holistic mentoring strategy that provides comprehensive guidance for our CCII junior investigators. By the end of the 5-year funding program, we expect that 4-6 CCII junior investigators will have been awarded R01 grants and that many of these graduates will remain key members of this new COBRE focused on cancer immunology and immunotherapy.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1)
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University of Louisville
United States
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