Research Projects

About the Projects

Our Partnership continues to build on the numerous unique existing resources at SDSU and UC San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center and the School of Medicine which make up key elements of the Partnership, supporting research, education, and outreach. Among these are joint multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research projects that include faculty members from both institutions.

The projects have a high degree of novelty and are aimed at enhancing research capacity at SDSU and increasing cancer disparities research at UCSD. These projects are:

Project 1:


Title: Nanoshells Enabled Tumor Ablation and Immunotherapy

To investigate the effects of the combination of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) with an immune modulator (TLR agonist) to: 1) induce an innate immune response after HIFU application, and 2) generate long lasting antitumor immunity.

Selected Press and Publications:

"Exploding Shells Boost Immune Response to Brain Cancer", UCSD News, September 17, 2019

Microshell Enhanced Acoustic Adjuvants for Immunotherapy in Glioblastoma Adv. Therap., 2019, August 16. 2: 1900066. doi:10.1002/adtp.201900066

Research Team at UCSD:
Andrew Kummel, PhD (Co-Leader); Dennis Carson, MD; Tomoko Hayashi, PhD; Natalie Mendez, MS; Stephen Calderon; Adrian Badaracco; James Wang

Research Team at SDSU:
Natalie Gude, PhD (Co-Leader); Joi Weeks, MS; Oscar Echeagaray; Christina Payne

Project 2:


Title: A RCT of Outreach and Inreach Strategies for Boosting CRC Screening in a Federally-Qualified Health Center

To conduct a 4-arm RCT to compare: 1) an inreach strategy offering in-clinic education delivered by a community Health Worker, 2) a mailed outreach strategy offering FIT, 3) both outreach and inreach combined, and 4) usual care for boosting colorectal cancer screening.

Selected Publication:

"Outreach and Inreach Strategies for Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Latinos at a Federally Qualified Health Center: A Randomized Controlled Trial, 2015-2018." Am J Public Health. 2020 Feb 20:e1-e8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305524.

Research Team at UCSD
Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS (Co-Leader); Lin Liu, PhD; Balambal Bharti, PhD

Research Team at SDSU
Sheila Castañeda, PhD (Co-Leader); Gregory Talavera, MD, MPH; Rebecca Espinoza, PhD

Team at San Ysidro Health, Inc
Shawne O’Connell, MPH; Fatima Muñoz, MD, MPH; Maria Elena Meza; Sylvia Mercado; Valerie Sanchez

San Ysidro HealthSan Ysidro Health is a “Safety Net” clinic with 90,000 registered patients (41% uninsured) and 12 clinic sites. For more information, please visit,

Stay tuned There are numerous active projects in the Partnership pipeline, and additional projects will be listed soon!

For information about these projects please contact Bilge Pakiz at or Jill Nery at