Alumnus Ivan Pires wins prestigious National Cancer Institute award
Alumnus Ivan Susin Pires ('19 BS), now a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was awarded the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellow Transition Award (F99/K00), which helps outstanding doctoral candidates finish their PhD and find a good postdoctoral position. Only one candidate can be nominated per institution.
The NCI F99/K00 Fellowship provides PhD and other Research Doctoral candidates with two years of graduate school support for completing their dissertation research training (F99 phase), transitioning to four years of mentored, cancer-focused postdoctoral career development research positions (K00 phase).
The Fellowship should provide Pires with more flexibility in finding a postdoctoral position of interest in which he can expand his knowledge set.
At MIT, Pires is co-advised between Paula Hammond and Darrell Irvine. His main focus at MIT is on developing targeted nanoparticles for cancer immunotherapy.
Pires is a former undergraduate member of Andre Palmer's research group, where he explored the efficacy of using apohemoglobin to protect against heme toxicity as part of Professor Palmer's research to develop hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers for applications in transfusion medicine.
Pires had several significant achievements at Ohio State prior to commencing his graduate work at MIT. In 2020, his first-author research paper "Novel Manufacturing method for producing apohemoglobin and its biophysical properties" was featured on the cover of the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering. The same paper won the 2021 Gaden Award, which recognizes exceptional papers published in the Biotechnology & Bioengineering journal in the past few years. The paper was Pires' second first-author publication as an undergraduate.
In 2018 he was selected to participate in the highly-competitive Future Leaders in Chemical Engineering Symposium at NC State, which invites the top ~15 undergraduate researchers in the United States for a 1.5 day, all-expenses paid research symposium. In notifying Ivan of his award, symposium chair Michael Dickey of the North Carolina State University department of chemical engineering stated that there had been an overwhelming number of outstanding applications and that being selected meant that Pires was among the "best-of-the-best."
At Ohio State, Pires also won a Pelotonia Research Fellowship; first prize in the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum as well as the College of Engineering Undergraduate Research Forum; was selected as one of eight undergrads to represent Ohio State at the SIICUSP Undergraduate Research Meeting in Sao Paulo Brazil two years in a row; and was one of two students to receive the Student Recognition Award from The Ohio State University Board of Trustees.
His long-term goal is to become an independent cancer research professor.