June 2, 2021:

This month, the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium highlights our member, Penn State Cancer Institute. Get to know more about Penn State Cancer Institute investigator Monika Joshi, MD, MRCP.

Monika Joshi, MD, MRCP

Monika Joshi, MDAssociate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology

Penn State Cancer Institute, Next Generation Therapies

Educational Background

  • Medical degree/MBBS: Manipal Academy of Higher Education
  • Residency: UPMC Pinnacle, Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Fellowship: Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa.
  • Specialist Registrar (Fellow): University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry, England, United Kingdom

Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Joshi’s research focus is in the field of genitourinary tumors and the use of immunotherapy and targeted therapy for their treatment. She has a keen interest in developing clinical trials with novel immunotherapeutic combinations and identifying predictive and prognostic biomarkers.

Dr. Joshi currently serves as an associate professor of medicine at Penn State College of Medicine and is a medical oncologist at Penn State Cancer Institute. She has been involved with the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (CRC) since 2014 and has served as Big Ten CRC’s chief scientific officer since January. Her pathway to a leadership role with the Big Ten CRC began by attending meetings, joining the Genitourinary Clinical Trial Working Group, of which she is now a co-chair, and taking advantage of the collaborative environment the consortium offers.

“The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium helped me take my research ideas to the next level,” Joshi said. “I have received excellent expert opinions from my colleagues that enhanced my trial, improved recruitment, and helped me overcome hurdles.”

Joshi believes that it is important for early- and mid-career investigators to be involved in the Big Ten CRC. Access to study populations, assistance with protocol development, shared expertise from disease teams, and a supportive administrative team are just a few of the benefits the consortium provides to investigators.

The most recent example of this collaboration was the completion of the clinical trial, BTCRC-GU15-023, Durvalumab and Radiation Therapy Followed by Adjuvant Durvalumab in Patients With Urothelial Cancer (T2-4 N0-2 M0) of the Bladder, also called DUART, that included six institutions from the Big Ten CRC. Dr. Joshi presented the results of this trial at the the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2021 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

When she is not working, you can find her reading a book, listening to music or watching her son play soccer at their favorite park in Hershey. Dr. Joshi said she always finds two hours in her day for “me” time. She insists that work-life balance is critical, especially for female physicians, who she believes face higher expectations.

Dr. Joshi says her work isn’t so much a job as a calling. “Research is my passion,” she said. “If you are a young investigator thinking about research, make sure you can see yourself enjoying this for many years.”


About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium: The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium was created in 2013 to transform the conduct of cancer research through collaborative, hypothesis-driven, highly translational oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of Big Ten universities. The goal of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is to create a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches to cancer treatment. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to more than 9,800 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.