Dr. Pavani Chalasani Recognized by National Cancer Institute with Leadership Award

Nov. 2, 2020

Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH, associate professor of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, will serve as chair of the University of Arizona Cancer Center’s Scientific Review Committee (SRC) as a part of a recent National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award (CCITLA).

This award recognizes outstanding mid-career clinical investigators whose leadership, participation, and promotion of clinical trials and research improve the lives of people with cancer.

Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH

Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH

In 2020, the NCI selected eight recipients from NCI-designated cancer centers to be honored with the award. Each candidate is nominated by their cancer center director on the basis of qualifications, interests, accomplishments, and the candidate’s ability to promote and pursue an academic career in clinical research. As a recipient, Dr. Chalasani will receive partial salary support for two years for activities and efforts related to the award, which for Dr. Chalasani includes assuming her position as chair of the SRC.

“I am honored to take on this important leadership role within our Cancer Center and specifically with the SRC,” said Dr. Chalasani. “This committee is critical to our Cancer Center Support Grant because of our collective responsibility to oversee our clinical trials and ensure the scientific merit, priority, value and progress of all cancer-related clinical studies.”

Dr. Chalasani is distinguished for her work in translational breast oncology, is particularly interested in biomarkers for breast cancer, and has numerous ongoing translational and clinical projects. She is a research member in the Cancer Center’s Therapeutic Development Program and serves as the principal investigator for several investigator-initiated clinical trials (IITs) as well as clinical trials run by industry and co-operative groups.

“Dr. Chalasani is a rising star, a translational investigator who has written several IITs, including a multi-center IIT, and a top accruer to interventional treatment trials,” said Daniel O. Persky, MD, associate director of clinical investigations and the center’s only other recipient of the CCITLA, which he received in 2014. “She brings a wealth of understanding of trial vetting and conduct to the SRC chair position. Having served on the SRC also makes her understand how the committee functions.”

Key responsibilities for the SRC include careful medical, scientific and biostatistical peer review of study protocols for all cancer research, as well as regular reviews of enrollment for all open trials.

“Dr. Chalasani is a talented and prolific clinical investigator who knows how to translate science into trials that benefit our patients,” said Julie E. Bauman, MD, MPH, deputy director of the Cancer Center. “Her dedication to rigorous review during her tenure as an SRC member, coupled with her own wealth of experience, paves the way for strong leadership.”