UVM Cancer Center Announces 2023 Pilot Project Grantees

December 13, 2023 by Katie Queen, PhD

Recipients of the 2023 Pilot and Pre-Pilot Grants from left to right: Robert Kelm, Ph.D., Jonathon Boyson, Ph.D., and Elise Tarbi, Ph.D..

The UVM Cancer Center has announced the recipients of its 2023 Pilot and Pre-Pilot Project Grants. Investigators who are awarded Pilot Project Grants receive $50,000 to support their research and Pre-Pilot awardees receive $15,000 to help catalyze their research endeavors. 

This year’s Pilot Project Grant awardees are: 

Robert Kelm, Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine and Biochemistry. Dr. Kelm’s project, “Mechanistic Evaluation of PURA and PURB in Regulating the Phenotype of ER+ Breast Cancer Cells”, will investigate the role of PURA and PURB in regulating cancer cell survival. 

Scott Perrapato, D.O., associate professor of Surgery. Dr. Perrapato’s project, “Developing a Novel Analytical Tool for Prostate Cancer Diagnosis”, is a collaboration with Christopher Landry, Ph.D., professor of Chemistry, and Pablo Botella, Ph.D., tenured scientist at Universidad Politecnica de Valencia. Their project will work to identify a molecular fingerprint for high-malignant prostate cancer that will enhance prostate cancer diagnosis protocols. 

This year’s Pre-Pilot Project Grant awardees are: 

Jonathan Boyson, Ph.D., professor of Surgery. Dr. Boyson’s project, “Lung Gamma Delta T Cells in a Mouse Model of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer”, will investigate the mechanisms that drive gamma delta T cell activation to promote tumor progression. 

Elise Tarbi, Ph.D., assistant professor of Nursing. Dr. Tarbi’s project, “Identifying Communication Factors Influencing Connection in Telehealth Serious Illness Conversations with Rural Cancer Patients”, will discern factors that improve connection in telehealth conversations regarding serious illness. 

UVM Cancer Center member Noah Kolb, M.D., served as chair for the pilot project grant review committee.