Closing the Gap

About Closing the Gap Summit Awards

Part of Massey’s strategic Summit meetings, the Closing the Gap Summit Award is designed to promote catchment area, community-engaged and cancer disparities-relevant research with an emphasis on Massey’s four disease priority areas – breast, lung, gastrointestinal (GI) and prostate cancers. Summit meetings will be held throughout the year, each with an emphasis on one of the four priority cancers. Summit attendees are eligible to submit a letter of intent (LOI) for pilot project funding within a month of the Summit meeting. Two to three letters of intent will be invited to submit a full application following each Summit meeting.

  • April 19, 2022: Breast Cancer Summit
  • November 2, 2022: Lung Cancer Summit
  • TBD: GI Cancers Summit
  • TBD: Prostate Cancer Summit

Award details

  • Up to $75,000 will be awarded following each of the four planned Summits
  • All VCU faculty and trainees who participated in the summit associated with the award are invited to submit
  • Proposals should comprise a multi-principal investigator team, including at least two investigators (either an interdisciplinary dyad or a senior/junior dyad and one Community Champion), however teams can be larger
  • At least one Community Champion must be included in the development of the project. Please contact Dr. Maria Thomson at to discuss engagement of a Community Champion in your proposal.
  • Team leads should be from different disciplines/perspectives/expertise
  • A Massey investigator may only hold one active pilot research award at a time

LOI requirements

  • LOIs are due within 30 days of the most recent Summit
  • LOIs should include the name, department, role, mentor, concept title and a 250-word project description
  • LOIs should be submitted to Alex Haynes at

Upcoming deadlines and award dates

Stay tuned for more details about the upcoming GI Cancers Summit in 2023. For questions, please contact Alex Haynes at or (305) 915-4200.

Previous awardees

Awardees Project
Joseph W. Landry, Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
Human & Molecular Genetics
Harry D. Bear, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Surgery

Prevention of Breast Cancer Recurrence by Targeting Epigenetic Complexes to Stimulate Antitumor Immunity

View abstract