Cancer Research Forum Celebrates Its First Year of Driving Scientific Collaboration and Innovation

Man speaking at Cancer Research Forum In January, the MCW Cancer Center celebrated the first anniversary of the Cancer Research Forum, a collaborative meeting and social event that creates a space for all Cancer Center members to share unpublished research and gather quality feedback from peers. Over the last year, the monthly forum has brought together more than 200 scientists across different specialties to exchange ideas, offer suggestions, and work together to elevate researchers’ projects. Xue-Zhong Yu, MD, MS, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, and forum co-leader, said many presenters have incorporated their feedback into grant proposals that have been submitted, and even awarded, this past year.

“The forum provides our cancer scientists with an opportunity to receive valuable interdisciplinary feedback from colleagues on their preliminary data and specific aims, improving the quality of their internal or external grant applications,” said Dr. Yu. “It also builds community by helping researchers learn about each other’s work, and by facilitating new collaborations while strengthening existing ones.”

The Cancer Center has long hosted seminars series’ where members can present their published data or share progress of ongoing projects. However, prior to the forum, there was no avenue for investigators to gain insights on developing research or novel ideas. “While seminars provide great opportunities to share what has been done, the Cancer Research Forum is a dedicated space for researchers to discuss the future direction of studies, particularly in a multidisciplinary setting with investigators from a wide array of cancer research, from cancer control to basic science,” said Jennifer Knight, MD, MS, FACLP, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, and forum co-leader.

Drs. Yu and Knight are proud of the momentum built over the last year and look forward to expanding the Cancer Research Forum in 2024. While they plan to keep the same format—30-minute presentations followed by 30-minute discussions—this year they are encouraging more senior investigators to participate by providing their input to junior faculty and sharing their own work.

Additionally, they are reserving two spots for researchers who plan to submit Cancer Center pilot funding applications.

“We greatly appreciate the ongoing support from our MCW Cancer Center leaders, as well as the dedicated administrative staff who contributed to the forum’s success this past year. Many thanks to all the cancer research members who presented their novel ideas and to those who participated and provided valuable feedback,” they said.

Cancer Research Forum happens the fourth Thursday of each month. Learn how to get involved by contacting