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Translational Bridge Program

Fostering Translational Collaborations between Basic Scientists and Clinicians

The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University has established the Translational Bridge Program at Northwestern with the objective of accelerating progress towards translating basic science research into novel clinical approaches and addressing the most urgent questions in the fields of cancer biology and cancer care.

The Lurie Cancer Center will provide funds to support Postdoctoral Fellows to conduct novel research in an area of fundamental importance to cancer biology, with future potential for translation into a diagnostic or therapeutic setting.  Lurie Cancer Center Bridge Fellows will carry out their projects in a basic science lab headed by a seasoned investigator and partnered with a clinician with expertise in a particular cancer or clinical research field.  It is expected that the Bridge Fellow will be mentored and supervised by both of these senior faculty members and thus become a bridge and conduit to exceptional translational research. 

In a sense, the Bridge scientist will force interaction and coordination with the objectives of a) accelerating the identification of translatable problems early in a project and b) stimulating joint grant submissions and ultimately clinical trials.  Co-mentorship will be achieved and documented through regular meetings between the Bridge Fellow with both her/his basic science and clinician mentors and associated lab groups, with evaluation on a 6 month basis to measure progress and assess research outcomes.

Through the Bridge Program, the Lurie Cancer Center is creating an opportunity to accelerate the progress and heighten the impact of translational research by facilitating the application of rigorous basic science concepts to clinical problems. The Bridge Program represents a fresh approach to training a new generation of cancer researchers, with the potential to raise the bar in translational science and in medical education.

Neither the Bridge fellow nor the clinical partner need to have been identified in order to apply.  Successful projects will be fundamental in nature, rather than those already in the process of being translated or close to clinical trials.  


  • The proposal must demonstrate a research plan based on collaboration between a basic scientist and a clinical investigator. At least one investigator should be a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • The proposal should have a clear plan for translation into clinical products (clinical trial or assay) in the short term.
  • The research project should have the potential to impact treatment of cancers represented in the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center's catchment area.

Current Application Period

Applications are limited to two pages including scientific rationale, hypothesis, specific aims, experimental approach, innovation, impact, milestones, and plans for collaboration. Investigators funded though this mechanism are required to present research findings at the Annual Translational Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center Symposium and submit a progress report at the end of the funding period.

Applications accompanied by biosketches of both investigators should be submitted to Benette Philips, Scientific Program Director at the Lurie Cancer Center (

Please direct any questions about this funding opportunity to Dr. Jindan Yu ( or Dr. Daniela Matei (, co-leaders of the Translational Bridge Program.

Read about the first Translational Bridge Program Award recipients here.