New Warnecke Fellowship focuses on cancer disparities research

Barbara Warnecke has generously established a fund to honor her late husband, whose more than 40-year career was dedicated to eliminating inequities in cancer health outcomes.

The University of Illinois Cancer Center is proud to announce creation of The Richard B. Warnecke, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cancer Health Disparities, which will continue his legacy of recruiting and mentoring exceptionally talented and diverse investigators.

The inaugural Richard B. Warnecke Fellowship will be awarded in 2024.

Throughout his career, Richard Warnecke made it his priority to recruit and mentor junior investigators, and this new fellowship in his name will address the need for early-stage investigators focused on cancer health equity. It will address cross-cutting health disparity issues across the cancer continuum, from etiology and primary prevention to treatment and survivorship.

“It is an honor to thank Barbara Warnecke for this remarkable gift that will support the Cancer Center’s aim to train and empower scientists to foster new, innovative research on both the causes of cancer disparities and methods to translate biologic and epidemiologic findings into effective prevention and control programs, drug development and therapies,” said Cancer Center Director Jan Kitajewski, PhD.

Barbara Warnecke added, “My hope is that others will support this important work and create opportunities for the next generation of researchers and many generations to come.”

The fellowship is a fitting tribute to Richard Warnecke, who was influential in launching the careers of many researchers who have followed in his footsteps to address health disparities. His research was foundational to the Cancer Center, where he served as associate director of the Population Sciences, Cancer Control and Education Program, and as mentor to many.

Warnecke Fellows will conduct cancer disparities research under the auspices of a mentor, laying the groundwork for successful and impactful careers in this field.

Support from the fund will afford opportunities such as mentorship, protected research time, training and career development. Fellows who complete the program will carry the prestigious title Richard B. Warnecke, PhD Fellow throughout the entirety of their career, a credential of which they and we can be proud.

To learn more about the fund, please contact the Cancer Center’s Office of Advancement at

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