SCI - Seed Grants

The clinicians and researchers at the Skin Cancer Institute are committed to generating new ideas about skin cancer etiology, prevention and treatment, and then translating these ideas and discoveries from the laboratory into the clinic and into the community. We are also committed to growing new, successful researchers. A skin cancer-free future requires planning today for new ideas and trained researchers. These ideas and these researchers need research dollars and a supportive environment to flourish.

The ‘Skin Cancer Seed Grant Research’ competition is designed to help University of Arizona researchers test novel ideas for prevention, detection or treatment of melanoma and other skin cancers. These proposals are small grants designed to be ‘seeds’ to help new research ideas grow into larger research proposals that can be competitive for national funding and to help young investigators grow their careers. 

Announcing the 2023 seed grant winners


Rui Xiong, PhD

"Inducing DNA Mismatch Repair Defects to Restore ICI Sensitivity in Melanoma"

Our proposed approach to enhance response rates to melanoma immunotherapy is to induce tumor mutational burden and neoantigen production in resistant melanoma cells. 


Mark Nelson, PhD

"Molecular detection of indeterminate melanocytic lesions"

We have identified a set of DNA biomarkers that are abnormally modified in melanoma, but not in nevi. This study will compare genetic data of both types of lesions to provide clinicians and patients with the correct diagnosis to guide appropriate care.


2022 Skin Cancer Research Seed Grant recipients

Abhijit Date, PhD

"Reformulating Phenformin to Improve its Repurposing for Melanoma Therapy"

Leslie Dennis, PhD, MS

"How Vendor vs Recalled Residential Histories Compare as Environmental Markers of UVR"

Sally Dickinson, PhD

"PD-L1 as a Target for Topical Photochemoprevention"


2021 Skin Cancer Research Seed Grant recipients

Dylan Miller, MPH

"A Pilot Study of Personal UVR Dosimeters in NCAA Athletes"


2020 Seed Grant Recipients

Bo Sun, PhD

"A Bi-Adjuvant Nanovaccine for lmmunotherapy of Melanoma"

Russell Witte, PhD

"Clinical Photoacoustic Imaging and Spectroscopy for Assessment of Common Cutaneous Lesions"


2019 Seed Grant Recipients

Delaney Stratton, NP, PhD

"A pilot, randomized-controlled trial on the efficacy of a microlearning-based skin cancer early detection intervention for primary care nurse practitioners"


Jin H. Song, PhD

"Role of H19 in epigenetics of melanomas"


Khiem A Tran, PhD

"A Novel Mechanism in the Immune Suppression Repertoire of Metastatic Melanoma"


2018 Seed Grant Recipients

Sally Dickinson, PhD

"Mechanistic evaluation of UV-induced stimulation of TLR4 in keratinocytes using genetic and pharmacological means."


Delaney Stratton, RN

"Development and acceptability assessment of a novel, short-burst educational intervention on early skin cancer detection for primary care nurse practitioners."



Georg Wondrak, PhD and Sally Dickinson, PhD

"Novel pharmacological inhibition of UV-induced TLR4 signaling using topical phytochemicals."


2017 Seed Grant Recipient

Paul Myrdal, PhD

"Evaluation of Synthetic Membranes for Screening Topical Skin Cancer Prevention Agents in Diffusion Studies"


2016 Seed Grant Recipients

"Targeting TLR4 in UV-Induced Skin Carcinogenesis"

"GILT as a Prognostic Marker in Primary Melanoma"

"Protocol Development for Massage Therapist Education in Skin Cancer Early

For further information contact: Robin B. Harris, PhD, MPH (Co-Director, Skin Cancer Institute) or 520-626-5357.


Seed grant history

Thanks to the generous support of donors, the Skin Cancer Institute initiated the annual Skin Cancer Seed Grant Research competition in 2010. This competition and funds are designed to help University of Arizona researchers test novel ideas for prevention, detection, or treatment of skin cancer. These small grants are designed to be 'seeds' to help new research ideas grow into larger research proposals that can be competitive for national funding. It is also a way to help young investigators grow their careers and for more experienced investigators to try new research ideas and approaches.

Upon receipt of applications, all proposals are reviewed by experienced researchers from the Cancer Center for: scientific merit, likelihood of publication of results and provision of preliminary data for an external grant, and likelihood of being completed within the one year time frame.


Recipients for 2013-2014

Yira Bermudez, PhD, MBA
"Balancing the Angiogenic Diagnosis Scale for the Early Diagnosis of Melanoma"

Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH
“Preliminary Studies for Massage Therapist Education in Skin Cancer Early Detection and Sun Safety Education”

Joshua Williams PhD
“Assessment of Metformin as a Reactive Scavenger for the Chemoprevention of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer"


Recipients for 2012-2013

Jana Jandova, PhD
"Evaluating the Role of mtDNA Mutations in the Development of Non-melanoma Skin Cancer"

PublicationMutations in BALB mitochondrial DNA induce CCL20 up-regulationpromoting tumorigenic phenotypes

Joanne Jeter, MD
"Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Risk of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma"
Elizabeth Krupinski, MD, PhD
"Understanding Visual Search Patterns of Dermatologists Assessing Skin Pigmented Lesions"

Recipients for 2010-2011

Jeff Stone, PhD
"An investigation of whether creating hypocrisy about performing sun protection behaviors can engage an individual’s self-regulation process to promote long-term behavior change"

Yira Bermudez, PhD
"Validation of an analytical method to quantify folate species involved in DNA repair and synthesis in human skin and tissue"

Sally Dickinson, PhD
"Potential for sulforaphane to inhibit melanoma metastasis via inhibition of AP- 1 activity"

Robert Krouse, MD
"Prognostic value of karyometry for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma"