LCI Awards $125,000 to Develop North Carolina Lung Cancer Research Fellows

RALEIGH, NC – Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI) is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 class of lung cancer research fellows from institutions across North Carolina who have each demonstrated a measurable impact through their proposals and commitment to the lung cancer field. Each LCI fellow will receive a fellowship grant of $25,000 to support their work. 

“During the last twenty years, there has been exciting progress for lung cancer prevention, detection, and treatment,” said Neal Ready, MD, PhD, Chair of LCI’s Scientific Review Committee. “Many of the best and brightest medical trainees have been attracted to the field of thoracic oncology. The 2021 class of Lung Cancer Initiative research fellows are an exceptional group of early career, medical researchers whose diverse projects will shed light on all aspects of lung cancer research.”

James Isaacs, MD, Duke University received special commendation from the review committee for his application and is being recognized as the recipient of the 2021 LCI Distinguished Fellow Award.

2021-2022 Lung Cancer Initiative Research Fellows

James Isaacs, MD, Duke University

Project:  "Evaluating the Impact of PCSK9 on the Composition of the Tumor-Immune Microenvironment and Treatment Response to the Immune Checkpoint Blockade (ICB) in NSCLC" (Mentor:  Neal Ready, MD,PhD;  Scott Antonia, MD, PhD)

Jacob Stein, MD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Project: "Evaluating Barriers to Equitable Access to Precision Medicine in Advanced Lung Cancer"  (Mentor:  Marjory Charlot, MSc, MPH)

Safoa Afua Addo, MD, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center 

Project:  "Circulating Immune Biomarkers as Predictors of the Response to Pembrolizumab and Weekly Low Dose Carboplatin and Paclitaxil in NSCLC and Poor Performance Status" (Mentor:  Pierre Triozzi, MD;  Jeff Petty, MD)

Christopher Pallas, MD, Atrium Health  

Project:  "Evaluation of Novel Predictive Biomarkers in Patients with Locally Advanced, Unresectable Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treated with Durvalumab after Chemoradiotherapy"  (Mentor:  John Heinzerling, MD)

Hafiz Muhammad Aslam, MD, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University

Project:  "PUF:  A Potential Repressor of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Proto-Oncogenes" (Mentor:  Myon Hee Lee, PhD)

The purpose of LCI’s Research Fellows program is to further the development of local lung cancer care and research programs across the state of North Carolina. To date, LCI has supported 34 fellows through this program.  By funding research activities of fellows, LCI helps further their careers and encourage their continuing involvement in the field of lung cancer. This fellowship is provided for students who wish to pursue a career in lung cancer research, diagnosis, treatment and/or care. LCI fellowships are granted for one year and recipients receive a $25,000 per year stipend.

Annually, lung cancer claims more lives in North Carolina and the US than breast, colorectal and prostate cancers combined. Since 2008, LCI has funded $2.6 million in lung cancer research through programs like the research fellowship grant, health disparities in lung cancer grant in partnership with the V Foundation for Cancer Research, career development award and innovation grant.

About Lung Cancer Initiative

As a leading non-profit supporting lung cancer research and education in North Carolina and beyond, Lung Cancer Initiative specializes in connecting patients, survivors and loved ones with the medical and research community. The organization’s mission is to advance survivorship and provide support to those affected by lung cancer through research, education and access programs. For more information, please visit


For more information, contact Paige Humble, LCI Executive Director, at or (919) 784-0410 or Lane Moore, LCI Communications and Development Specialist at or (919) 784-0410.

# # #


GuideStar Gold Participant