CCIL Grant Programs

Underhill lab tech testing samples

The Cancer Center at Illinois supports the most innovative and exciting ideas from faculty at the University of Illinois. The Seed Grant Funding Program sparks and supports transdisciplinary collaborations that develop projects from early ideas to a competitive external funding proposal.

These grant funding opportunities are designed to foster new collaborations that reach across the engineering and biology continuum and leverage research team results for submitting external multi-PI grants in the cancer area.

Each application is reviewed and discussed by a panel of reviewers, following a process similar to that used by NIH.

Seed Grant Program

TEP Utilization Grant 

CCIL Bridge Grant Program

CCIL High-Throughput Screening Support Grants

Seed Grants

Planning Grants

Where Cancer Research Meets Collaboration

Diwakar Shukla Portrait

Diwakar Shukla

“Cancer research needs multidisciplinary approaches and the Cancer Center at Illinois has developed a unique research program focused on the interface between data science, measurement technology, and cancer research.

Kevin Chang

“Cancer is among the largest health concerns today and supporting cancer research helps scientists advance the prevention and treatment of it.”

Diwakar Shukla Portrait

Prasanth Kumar V. Kannanganattu

“The CCIL helps to bridge biologists, engineers and medical professionals in the campus to explore new avenues towards understanding the biology of cancer, ultimately paving the way to novel therapeutic strategies.”

Seed Grant Funding

2021 Seed Grant Projects

Delineating the Role of Orc6 in Genome Surveillance and Cancer Progression

Principal Investigator:

  • Supriya Prasanth, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

Research Team:

  • Satish K. Nair, Department of Biochemistry

FORce Control of Cancer Tumor μEnvironment (FORCE)

Principal Investigator:

  • M. Taher Saif, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering

Research Team:

  • Kimberly Selting, Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine
  • Kannanganattu V. Prasanth, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Hyunjoon Kong, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

High-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging for Adaptive Glioblastoma Multiforme Patient Treatment

Principal Investigator:

  • Hua Li, Department of Bioengineering

Research Team:

  • Fan Lam, Department of Bioengineering
  • Zhi-Pei Liang, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Mark Anastasio, Department of Bioengineering
  • Paul Arnold, Department of Neurosurgery (Carle Foundation Hospital)
  • Daniel Barnett, Carle Cancer Institute

Lipid Droplet Packing: A New Target to Interfere with the Progress of Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Principal Investigator:

  • Cecilia Leal, Department of Materials Science & Engineering

Research Team:

  • Sayee Anakk, Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Multi-shape 3D Hanging Drop Array for Cancer Drug-screening

Principal Investigator:

  • Rashid Bashir, Department of Bioengineering

Research Team:

  • Panagiotis Z. Anastasiadis, Department of Cancer Biology (Mayo Clinic – Jacksonville, FL)
  • George Vasmatzis, Department of Molecular Medicine (Mayo Clinic – Rochester, MN)
  • Andrew Smith, Department of Bioengineering
  • Joon Kong, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Jie Chen, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Quantitative Ultrasound for Detection of Lymph Node Metastasis from Oral Melanoma & to Document Tumor Response to Stereotactic Radiosurgery in Dogs as a Large Animal Model of Metastatic Cancer

Principal Investigator:

  • Kimberly Selting, Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine

Research Team:

  • Audrey Billhymer, Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine
  • Michael Oelze, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Rita Miller, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Stable Therapeutic Antibody Expression for Cancer Immunotherapy by Liver-directed Gene Editing

Principal Investigator:

  • Shannon Sirk, Department of Bioengineering

Research Team:

  • Thomas Gaj, Department of Bioengineering
  • Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Pablo Perez-Pinera, Department of Bioengineering

Workflows and Tools for Visualizing Tumor Phylogenies in Metastatic Breast Cancer

Principal Investigator:

  • Mohammed El-Kebir, Department of Computer Science

Research Team:

  • Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition
  • Charles Blatti, National Center for Supercomputing Applications
  • Colleen Bushell, National Center for Supercomputing Applications
  • Lisa Gatzke, National Center for Supercomputing Applications
  • Matthew Berry, National Center for Supercomputing Applications

The Role of the Urinary Sterolbiome in Prostate Cancer Risk

Principal Investigator:

  • Jason Ridlon, Department of Animal Sciences

Research Team:

  • H. Rex Gaskins, Department of Animal Sciences
  • Joseph Irudayaraj, Department of Bioengineering
  • John Erdman, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

2020 Seed Grant Projects

Using Anticancer Drug-Induced Immune Cell Activation to Target Ovarian Cancer for Eradication

Principal Investigator:

  • David Shapiro, Professor, Biochemistry

Research Team:

  • Erik Nelson, Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • Georgina Cheng, Clinical Assistant Professor, Carle Illinois College of Medicine

 

Elucidating the Role of Minor Cannabinoids on Immune Cell Activation Involved in Lung Cancer Metastatic Progression

Principal Investigator:

  • David Sarlah, Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Research Team:

  • Aditi Das, Associate Professor, Comparative Biosciences
  • Timothy Fan, Professor, Veterinary Clinical Medicine

 

Establishment of a Spatially Resolved Noncoding RNA-mRNA Interactome Map for Breast Cancer Progression

Principal Investigator:

  • Hee-Sun Han, Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Research Team:

  • Saurabh Sinha, Professor, Computer Science
  • Prasanth Kumar V. Kannanganattu, Associate Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology

 

2019 Seed Grant Projects

Cancer Immunotherapies for Precision Medicine in the State of Obesity

Principal Investigator:

  • Andrew Smith, Associate Professor, Bioengineering

Research Team:

  • Erik Nelson, Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • Wawrzyniec Dobrucki, Assistant Professor, Bioengineering

 

Characterization of Oncogenic Noncoding RNAs in Breast Cancer Progression and Metastasis

Principal Investigator:

  • Prasanth Kumar V. Kannanganattu, Associate Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology

Research Team:

  • Auinash Kalsotra, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry
  • Erik Nelson, Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • Wawrzyniec Dobrucki, Assistant Professor, Bioengineering

 

Deep Mutational Scanning of Receptor Tyrosine Kinases Involved in Cancer Using Transfer Learning Approaches

Principal Investigator:

  • Diwakar Shukla, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Research Team:

  • Erik Procko, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry

 

Next Generation Cancer Imaging Using Super-Resolution Ultrasound Microscopy Combined with Photoacoustic Tomography

Principal Investigator:

  • Pengfei Song, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Team:

  • Yi Lu, Professor of Chemistry
  • Liang Gao, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Timothy Fan, Professor, Veterinary Clinical Medicine

 

Planning Grant Funding

2020 Planning Grant Projects

Identifying Pathways for Therapeutic Design to Stop Liver Cancer

Principal Investigator:

  • Sayeepriyadarshini Anakk, Associate Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Research Team:

  • Auinash Kalsotra, Associate Professor, Biochemistry
  • Stephen Boppart, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

 

Enhancing GBM Immunotherapy Through Peripheral Viral Infection and Inhibition of Immune Suppression in the Tumor Microenvironment

Principal Investigator:

  • H. Rex Gaskins, Professor, Animal Sciences

Research Team:

  • Andrew Steelman, Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences
  • Ed Roy, Professor Emeritus, Pathology and Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • Stephen Boppart, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Brendan Harley, Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

 

Effect of Dietary Modulation of RAGE/AGE Axis on Prostatic Neuroendocrine Differentiation and the Efficacy of Anticancer Therapies

Principal Investigator:

  • Wawrzyniec Dobrucki, Associate Professor, Bioengineering

Research Team:

  • Erik Nelson, Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • Gregory Underhill, Associate Professor, Bioengineering

 

2019 Planning Grant Projects

A 3-D In Vitro Biomimetic Tumor Microenvironment Integrated with a Micro Sensor Platform

Principal Investigator:

  • M. Taher A. Saif, Professor, Mechanical Science and Engineering

Research Team:

  • Kimberly Selting, Associate Professor, Veterinary Medicine
  • Mohammed El-Kebir, Assistant Professor, Computer Science

 

Diet-modified Efficacy of RAGE-targeted Prostate Cancer Treatments

Principal Investigator:

  • Wawrzyniec Dobrucki, Associate Professor, Bioengineering

Research Team:

  • Erik Nelson, Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • John W. Erdman, Professor Emeritus, Food Science and Human Nutrition

 

Elucidating Mechanisms by which Environmental Toxicants Induce Liver Cancer

Principal Investigator:

  • Auinash Kalsotra, Associate Professor, Biochemistry

Research Team:

  • Joseph Irudayaraj, Professor, Bioengineering
  • Jodi Flaws, Professor, Comparative Biosciences

 

Elucidating Premetastatic Niche-Induced Therapy Resistance Mechanisms in ER(+) Metastatic Breast Cancers

Principal Investigator:

  • Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, Assistant Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition

Research Team:

  • Roy Dar, Assistant Professor, Bioengineering
  • Erik Nelson, Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology

 

Eradication of H.Pylori with PH-sensitive Antimicrobial Polypeptides to Reduce Gastric Cancer

Principal Investigator:

  • Jianjun Cheng, Professor, Bioengineering

Research Team:

  • Lin-Feng Chen, Professor, Biochemistry

 

Integrated Computational and CRISPR-CAS9 Imaging Platforms for Studying Non-Coding Pathogenic Germline Variants and Somatic Mutations in Breast Cancer

Principal Investigator:

  • Pablo Perez-Pinera, Assistant Professor, Bioengineering

Research Team:

  • Jun Song, Professor of Physics
  • Thomas Kuhlman, Assistant Professor, Physics

 

Listening Online and Listening Face-to-Face: Innovative Mixed-Method Approaches for Studying Cancer Communication in the New Media Environment

Principal Investigator:

  • Kevin Chang, Professor, Computer Science

Research Team:

  • Cabral Bigman-Galimore, Assistant Professor, Communication
  • Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, Associate Professor, Kinesiology and Community Health

 

Predicting Response to Cancer Immunotherapy Using a Subclone-Integrated Machine Learning Model of Neoantigen Processing, Presentation, and Recognition

Principal Investigator:

  • Jian Peng, Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Research Team:

  • Mohammed El-Kebir, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Hong Jin, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry