The Courtney Page Zillman Doctoral Fellowship Program
TUFT began funding the program in 2000. Young, ambitious scientist apply for these positions and are extensively interviewed by the highly regarded and dedicated doctors at Steele Research Center. Once selected, these fellows work under the close supervision of Dr. Emmanuel Katsanis.
2007-10 Fellow Collin LaCasse
Collin began his PhD studies in the UA Department of Immunobiology in 2006, and joined Dr. Katsanis' lab that December. His research interests include understanding immune responses to cancer and controlling that immune response to treat pediatric cancers.
Dr. Katsanis' laboratory has developed a novel cancer vaccine, CRCL (Chaperone Rich Cell Lysate), which will soon be entering clinical trials. However, the efficacy of all cancer vaccines is limited by the cancer cells' ability to suppress the immune system. Cancer does this by initiating recruitment and proliferation of immune regulatory cells. These cells dampen anti-tumor immunity in the tumor microenvironment. Collin is working with researchers Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, and Nicolas Larmonier, PhD, in exploring ways to suppress the activity of these regulatory cells and therefore allow for greater anti-tumor immunity. To do this they are investigating a variety of drugs which may specifically inhibit the action of regulatory cells. The success of this approach should drastically impact the success of cancer vaccine treatments.
Collin attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA. While at Lafayette, Collin was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, International Student Association, The Catholic Newman Association and the (South Asian) Tsunami Relief Committee. As a member of these groups he twice held the office of philanthropy committee chairman and fostered numerous community service collaborations between each of these organizations. Collin's research interest in cancer immunology was sparked during this period while doing two years of independent research under Dr. Robert Kurt in the department of biology.
"This fellowship is making a real difference in what I'm able to accomplish in the lab. Tee Up For Tots has allowed me to focus completely on research and on making progress toward developing better treatments for pediatric cancers. It means a great deal to me to know that I am in a position where I can improve the lives of children with cancer. I am truly grateful for the opportunity Tee Up For Tots has given me," says Collin.
View Past Fellowship Recipients
2011-2012: Fellow Alexis Bucknam
2008-2010: Fellow Collin LaCasse
2005-2007: Fellow Jessica Cantrell
2003-2005: Fellow Xinchun Chen
2003-2005: Fellow Ryan Falsey
2000-2003: Fellow Yi Zeng
2000-2003: Fellow Jason Beliakoff