Making University history with the National Cancer Institute

Making University history with the National Cancer Institute

By Jessica Alvarez

Making University history with the National Cancer Institute

By Jessica Alvarez
Microbiology and immunology doctoral student, Cameron Bader, speaks on his accomplishment of receiving a prestigious award from the National Cancer Institute.

“It started in high school. Between my brother’s autoimmune disorder diagnosis and my mother bringing home homework from her college courses, I knew I wanted to learn more about biology,” said Cameron Bader.  Cameron, a microbiology and immunology Ph.D. student at the University of Miami (UM), took his interest and turned it into his life’s research.  Recently, his research resulted in him becoming UM’s first graduate student to win an F99/K00 Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). As the University’s nominee, submitted by Dr. Robert Levy, Cameron received one of only 25 fellowships awarded by the NCI this year.  

Cameron’s award-winning project is entitled The regulation of innate immune sensors to control GVHD and GVL after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplants are performed mainly for patients with hematologic cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Alas, many of these patients will develop graft-versus-host disease, or GVHD, a complication in which the donor cells turn and attack the recipient. Cameron’s studies identified a regulator of this complication and he aims to create ways to allow prevention and treatment of GVHD, thus strengthening survival rates.

“Receiving this award meant so much to me. It meant continued support for coming years and stepping closer to my goal of becoming an independent cancer researcher,” Cameron goes on to say. The award provides up to six years of support beginning with the final one to two years of dissertation research and then it transitions to provide up to four years of mentored postdoctoral research and career development support. Cameron is grateful for his department and mentor for the nomination and support that led him to this monumental honor.