NEWS | June 17, 2021

$3.98 million federal grant to advance cancer researcher bench strength

Paul Calabresi Career Development Award for Clinical Oncology renewed


The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center successfully renewed its Paul Calabresi K12 Clinical Oncology Career Development Award (PCACO).  The award provides $3.98 million in National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding through 2026 to increase the number of clinician-scientists trained in clinical and translational cancer research, and to promote their career development as cancer researchers.

Paul Calabresi was a pioneering oncologist who led the development of cancer drugs.   Paul Calabresi was a pioneering oncologist who led the development of cancer drugs.

NCI initiated the program in 1991. In 1994 it was renamed the Paul Calabresi Award in Clinical Oncology in honor of the late Paul Calabresi, a pioneering oncologist who led the development of cancer drugs.  

Scholars are selected through a rigorous process and are expected to develop their own investigator-initiated clinical trial during the training period.

The cancer center leverages the program to train junior faculty (basic/translational scientists and clinician scientists) as investigators in team-based, patient-oriented cancer research. Upon successful completion of a three-year, salary-supported core curriculum, scholars receive a UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Certificate in Clinical Cancer Research.

“This is a high-impact program to nurture patient-oriented cancer researchers early in their career to become independent investigators,” said UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Primo “Lucky” Lara Jr., who is also the PCACO principal investigator and program director.

Selected scholars will receive 75% protected time for research, formal mentored training in clinical cancer research, $100,000 per year (for up to 3 years) to support salary and benefits, and $13,000 per year (for up to 3 years) for research and travel expenses.

The mentored research training plan will be supervised by two senior, independently funded faculty members (one basic/translational mentor and one clinical mentor) who will guide the scholar in the development and conduct of his/her research project.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 15,000 adults and children every year and access to more than 150 active clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 225 scientists at UC Davis who work collaboratively to advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Patients have access to leading-edge care, including immunotherapy and other targeted treatments. Its Office of Community Outreach and Engagement addresses disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations, and the cancer center provides comprehensive education and workforce development programs for the next generation of clinicians and scientists. For more information, visit