Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Cancer Research Interest Group

Welcome to the Cancer Research Interest Group (CRIG)

Welcome to the webpage for the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) Cancer Research Interest Group, or the “CRIG” for short. CRIG’s mission is to 1) expand upon CHIP’s successful research on survivorship to include the entire cancer control continuum from primary prevention to early detection/diagnosis, treatment, and end-of-life issues; 2) provide a forum for UConn cancer researchers to increase cancer research opportunities and external grant funding; and 3) foster funded collaborative cancer control research across the Storrs and UConn Health campuses. The group has 109 members from a diverse range of departments within the University of Connecticut and UConn Health Center, as well as from other universities, local healthcare facilities, and community organizations.

CRIG meets twice a year and co-sponsors cancer-related talks as part of the CHIP lecture series. In addition, CRIG organizes and sponsors a variety of events and activities dedicated to achieving its mission.

Join Us

To join the Cancer Research Interest Group, contact Dr. Deborah Cornman.

Leadership Team

Meg Gerrad, Ph.D.
Research Professor, Psychology
Deborah Cornman, Ph.D.
Associate Director, CHIP

 Upcoming Events

None listed. Check back for updates soon!

What can CRIG do for you?

Search funding opportunities
Upcoming events
Cancer research @ UConn/UCHC  and CRIG News
Cancer Research Resources, News, and Journals

CRIG Highlights: 2014-2015

September 2015: On September 24th, the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science’s (CICATS) Cancer Control and Prevention Cancer Interest Group hosted a Science Café at Costa del Sol Restaurant in Hartford to promote healthy cancer survivorship and related clinical and research opportunities. The event brought together 25 professionals, approximately ten practitioners and 15 researchers, from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, the University of Connecticut, and UConn Health Center to meet and conduct roundtable discussions on issues central to cancer survivorship. The keynote speaker at the event, Dr. Tara Sanft, M.D., launched lively discussion following her presentation on the cancer care continuum and opportunities that she envisions for clinical research in the survivorship population. Following the event, all attendees were provided with talking notes from each roundtable discussion and a comprehensive list including the contact information, research interests, and areas of expertise for others who attended. We hope that successful collaborations in cancer survivorship research will grow from the success of this networking event!

2014-2015: The formation of the CRIG and the support provided by them to researchers across the UConn campuses has resulted in a substantial increase in external funding in the area of cancer prevention and control. In FY15, there were 12 active cancer grants for total direct costs of $3.9 million. This represents approximately a 3.9 fold increase in external funding compared to FY13 when there were four active cancer grants for total direct costs of $1.0 million.

Fall 2014 and Spring 2015: The CRIG sponsored and promoted several CHIP Lecture Series speakers on cancer topics:

  • Terrance Albrecht, PhD from Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University School of Medicine – Lecture on “Reducing Cancer Health Disparities Using Community Engaged Research” followed by a discussion group on “Tips for Establishing a Community-Engaged Research Program”
  • William Klein, PhD from Behavioral Research Program at NIH’s National Cancer Institute – Lecture on “Self-Affirmation: From Theory to Process to Health Impact”
  • Rick Gibbons, PhD from Psychology Department at University of Connecticut – Lecture on “Racism as a Carcinogen: Risk, Resilience, and Genetic Sensitivity”
  • Julia Rowland, PhD from Office of Cancer Survivorship at NIH’s National Cancer Institute – “Addressing Cancer Survivors’ Health Behaviors: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities”

In the Spring 2014 semester-the CRIG hosted a seed grant competition with funding from the Vice President for Research, Dean of the School of Medicine, and CHIP. The focus of the competition was to foster cancer control health behavior research collaborations across campuses and disciplines by providing funding for seed grants to be awarded to dual PI teams of researchers from the Storrs and UConn Health campuses. The goal of this initiative was to fund pilot work that will facilitate the submission of grant proposals to the National Cancer Institute. The opportunity was advertised widely across both campuses and through the CRIG. Ten applicant teams submitted proposals in NIH format in April that were reviewed by a team of six internal experts from both campuses, as well as the director of a National Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention Center. The three winning proposals, each awarded $35,000, were:

  • “Exercise, Bone and Cardiovascular Health in Breast Cancer Survivors.”
    Principle Investigatorss: CHIP Affiliate Keith Bellizzi, Department of Human Development and Family Studies and Pam Taxel, MD, Department of Medicine.
  • “Pharmacist Intervention in Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative (PICCSI)”
    Principle Investigators: CHIP Affiliate Lisa Holle, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Joel Levine, Department of Medicine.
  • “Improving Quality of Life for Pediatric Cancer Patients and Parents through Yoga”
    Principle Investigators: CHIP PI Crystal Park, Department of Psychology and CHIP Affiliate Andrea Orsey, Department of Pediatrics.

In March 2014, the CRIG invited Dr. Rebecca Ferrer, a Program Officer at the National Institute of Cancer (and 2007 graduate of UConn’s Ph.D. program in Social Psychology) to make a presentation to CRIG members on current funding opportunities at NCI. This meeting provided information on the current and future NCI portfolios, included a very energetic Q & A session, and was useful to both junior and senior researchers at CHIP and UConn Health.

In May 2014, the CRIG held a focus group for junior cancer researchers from UConn Storrs and UConn Health (primarily assistant professors) to elicit feedback on the needs of less experienced researchers. The goal of the meeting, facilitated by Dr. Megan Gerrard and Dr. Deborah Cornman, was to learn more about the kinds of programs, services, and resources that would help junior researchers in their research, funding, and collaboration efforts. Notable needs and wishes shared by the participants included: dedicated mentorship, “soup to nuts” guidance on the process of grant writing and its various associated forms and requirements, examples of both successful and unsuccessful grant proposals, and a system for finding potential collaborators outside of one’s own department. CHIP is working to provide the services that were requested.