USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

USC Norris receives American Cancer Society grant to enhance innovative research by new investigators

December 13, 2022

By Hinde Kast 

Photo by Ricardo Carrasco

With scientists facing increasingly stiff competition for federal research dollars, Institutional Research Grants (IRG), funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), provide a critical leg up for junior faculty seeking to launch their independent careers in cancer research. The grants help new investigators accumulate the substantial preliminary data needed to secure long-term stable research funding.

Thanks to a continuing ACS IRG, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center will be able to further one of its key missions — fostering the career evolution of the next generation of cancer researchers. Myles Cockburn, PhD, co-leader of the USC Norris Cancer Control Research Program, and Caryn Lerman, PhD, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, oversee the grant, which supports cancer research by faculty at the rank of Instructor or Assistant Professor who have not yet received national funding.

“This continuing partnership between USC Norris and the American Cancer Society recognizes the critical importance of targeting resources to the best and brightest of our new scientists, ensuring that the future of innovative cancer research gets a jump start which can then be maintained across successful careers directed at tackling cancer disparities and reducing the cancer burden,” said Dr. Myles Cockburn, who is a professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “This partnership puts our future in good hands!”

The grant will fund pilot work, training, mentoring, and career development focusing on addressing cancer disparities in the populations of Los Angeles and beyond. The funding recognizes the cancer center’s dedication to developing the next generation of cancer researchers, supporting their efforts to encourage junior faculty to work with local communities to enhance the impact of their research, and to provide mechanisms for communicating research success stories to cancer survivors and community members.

The growing applicant pool for junior faculty at USC represents diverse cancer research interests – ranging from basic to clinical, pharmaceutical, etiological, behavioral, and psychosocial studies of cancer – and many different departments and schools throughout the University of Southern California. To meet those interests, the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has launched various programmatic initiatives such as personalized oncology medicine, cellular therapy, breast oncology, chemoprevention, immunology, bioinformatics, genetics and genomics among others.

“The ACS IRG is an invaluable and unique resource to provide research funding to junior faculty members who are beginning their independent research careers in the areas of cancer biology and treatment at USC Norris,” said Lerman, who is also the H. Leslie and Elaine S. Hoffman Chair in Cancer Research, and Associate Dean for cancer programs at the Keck School of Medicine. “It has a long and valued history at our university, providing support and encouragement that subsequently lead to successful national and statewide competition for peer-reviewed grant support. The ACS IRG has truly enhanced cancer-related research among junior faculty across a broad spectrum of disciplines.”

About USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center 

At the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, more than 250 dedicated physicians and scientists are leading the fight to make cancer a disease of the past. As one of the eight original National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, USC Norris has revolutionized cancer research, treatment, and prevention for nearly 50 years. Multidisciplinary teams provide the latest evidence-based care at USC Norris Cancer Hospital, a 60-bed hospital, as well as outpatient clinics throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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About The American Cancer Society   

The American Cancer Society is the leading cancer-fighting organization with a vision to end cancer as we know it for everyone. For more than 100 years, we have been the only organization improving the lives of people with cancer and their families through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. To learn more, visit or call our 24/7 helpline at 1-800-227-2345. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram