The Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL) has come a long way since we started coming together as a small “Cancer Community” in 2011. Our membership has grown, we have developed strong educational programs to enhance training for tomorrow’s scientists, and our clinical partnerships continue to thrive. Together, these efforts have led to the elevation of the CCIL as the 8th campuswide research institute at Illinois, demonstrating the university’s commitment to cancer research and education.

Our members are at the heart of this evolution. From Shiva Abbaszadeh’s design of an imaging scanner for head and neck cancer patients to Pablo Perez-Pinera’s genetic research, CCIL members are creating singular approaches to understanding and fighting cancer. Our research excellence is reinforced by national recognition, and I especially congratulate both John Katzenellenbogen for the Outstanding Achievement in Chemistry in Cancer Research award from the American Association for Cancer Research and Paul Hergenrother for the George and Christine Sosnovsky Award for Cancer Research from the American Chemical Society.

Our new Seed Funding Program will support even more innovation and discovery. These pilot projects will encourage new collaborations, unique research, and external funding, ultimately boosting Illinois research teams in developing novel approaches to fighting cancer.

Our educational efforts continue to evolve as we train the next generation of cancer scholars. The TiMe program has selected its new cohort of graduate student researchers, and these 12 exceptional scholars reflect the breadth of Illinois’ cancer research interests. We’ve also recruited our largest cohort of undergraduate Cancer Scholars and our high school program, researcHStart, expanded to eight students this year.

Many thanks for your continued engagement and support! Exciting times are ahead as we prepare for NCI designation, and I hope you continue with us on this journey.