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American Association for Cancer Research Recognizes New 2019-2020 Research Grantees

PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is proud to announce its newest class of grant recipients.

Since 1993, the AACR has allocated more than $460 million and awarded over 800 grants to support thousands of scientists devoted to advancing the understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. AACR grants support researchers domestically and abroad at every stage of their careers, representing a global commitment to cancer prevention, early detection, interception, and cure.


2019 Anna D. Barker Fellowship in Basic Cancer Research

  • Chaoyun Pan, PhD, Emory University
    “The role of kinase-mediated inositol metabolism in chemotherapy resistance”

2020 Anna D. Barker Fellowship in Basic Cancer Research

  • Conghui Yao, PhD, Harvard Medical School
    “Metabolic regulation of anti-tumor immunity in obesity”

2020 AACR-Amgen Fellowship in Clinical/Translational Cancer Research

  • Shanmugapriya Thangavadivel, PhD, The Ohio State University
    “Characterization and elimination of residual CLL following BTKi therapy”

2020 AACR-AstraZeneca Breast Cancer Research Fellowships

  • Monish Ram Makena, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    “A novel mechanism of resistance in receptor positive breast cancer”
  • Naiara Perurena, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
    “Understanding and combating therapeutic resistance in HER2+ breast cancer”

2020 AACR-AstraZeneca Clinical Immuno-oncology Research Training Fellowships

  • Justin A. Chen, MD, University of California, Davis
  • Nicholas Tschernia, MD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2020 AACR-AstraZeneca Immuno-oncology Research Fellowships

  • María Casanova-Acebes, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    “Macrophage determinants of therapy resistance in cancer”
  • Leah Schmidt, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    “Elucidating effects of the lung tumor microenvironment on T cell therapy”

2020 AACR-AstraZeneca Lung Cancer Research Fellowships

  • Ezequiel Carlos Dantas, MD PhD, Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
    “Metabolic regulation of lung cancer cachexia by STAT-3”
  • Shilpa Singh, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
    “Novel therapeutic strategy to target lung cancer with p53 mutations”

2020 AACR-AstraZeneca Lymphoma Research Fellowships

  • Zachary Epstein-Peterson, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    “Oncogenic mechanisms and therapeutic targeting of IDH2 mutations in AITL”
  • Timothy J. Voorhees, MD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    “Pilot study of anti-PD-1 therapy following CD30 directed CAR-T cell therapy”

2020 AACR-Bristol-Myers Squibb Immuno-oncology Research Fellowship

  • Chris Nabel, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital
    “Metabolic and immune profiling of kras-subsets in lung adenocarcinoma”

2019 AACR-Cancer Research UK Transatlantic Fellowships

  • Geylani Can, PhD, University of Cambridge
    “Regulation of DNA replication in mitosis”
  • Alejandro Jimenez-Sanchez, PhD, The Francis Crick Institute
    “Integrative single cell time-series for tumor micro-environment remodeling”
  • Ching Ting (Justin) Loke, PhD, University of Birmingham
    “Understanding the clonal structure and chemoresistance of ASXL1/RUNX1 AML”
  • Hadley Elizbeth Sheppard, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine“Drugging brachyury in chordoma”

2020 AACR-Genentech Cancer Disparities Research Fellowships

  • Tyler A. Allen, PhD, Duke University
    “Interrogating ancestry-related alternative splicing variation in metastasis”
  • Rania Bassiouni, PhD, University of Southern California
    “Alpha-catenin loss contributes to racial disparity in breast cancer”

2020 AACR-Genentech Immuno-oncology Research Fellowship

  • Wei Wang, PhD, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
    “Mechanism of immunosuppression in papillomavirus induced neoplastic disease”

2020 AACR-Incyte Immuno-oncology Research Fellowship

  • Nicoletta Cieri, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Addressing AML with vaccine-induced polyclonal leukemia-specific T cells”

2020 AACR-Ocular Melanoma Foundation Fellowship, in honor of Robert C. Allen, MD

  • Anna Han, PhD, Thomas Jefferson University
    “Targeting metabolism as a therapeutic approach in uveal melanoma”

2020 AACR-Pfizer Breast Cancer Research Fellowship

  • Yudan Chi, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    “The microenvironmental landscape of breast cancer leptomeningeal metastasis”

2020 AACR-Swim Across America Cancer Research Fellowship  

  • Manisha Jalan, DPhil, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    “Alternate DNA repair pathways in homologous recombination-deficient cancers”

2020 AACR-Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation Fellowship  

  • Laura Sipe, PhD, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
    “Novel pre-clinical model to identify genetic modifiers of TNBC”

2020 The AACR-QuadW Foundation Fellowship for Clinical/Translational Sarcoma Research

  • Jenna M. Gedminas, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
    “Targeting the oncogenic driver of desmoplastic small round cell tumor”

Translational Cancer Research Award:

2020 AACR-Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award for Translational Cancer Research

  • Dimitrios Mathios, MD, Johns Hopkins University-School of Medicine
    “Cell-free DNA analyses for early detection of brain tumors”

Career Development Awards:

2020 AACR Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award

  • Kaysia Ludford, MD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    “Interplay between ethnicity & biology in response to checkpoint inhibition”

2019 AACR-MPM Oncology Charitable Foundation Transformative Cancer Research Grants

  • Liron Bar-Peled, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital“Deciphering the mechanisms of ferroptosis signaling and death in cancer”
  • Sahand Hormoz, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute“Reconstructing the differentiation dynamics and genealogy of cancer cells”

2020 AACR-Novocure Career Development Awards for Tumor Treating Fields Research

  • Narasimha Kumar Karanam, PhD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    “Harnessing E2F-Rb-CDK4/6 axis for novel combination therapy with TTFields”
  • Chirag B. Patel, MD, PhD, Stanford University
    “Increasing glioblastoma cell membrane permeability with TTFields”

2020 Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Awards for Translational Breast Cancer Research

  • Isaac Harris, PhD, University of Rochester Medical Center
    “Uncovering the roles of extracellular GSH in triple-negative breast cancer”
  • Sheheryar Kabraji, BM BCh, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute“Overcoming residual disease in HER2+ breast cancer”

Independent Investigator Awards:

2020 AACR-Bayer Innovation and Discovery Grants

  • James L. Chen, MD, The Ohio State University
    “Deciphering mechanisms of sorafenib sensitivity in desmoid tumors”
  • Nicholas A. Graham, PhD, University of Southern California
    “Proteomic approaches to improve therapeutic targeting of PRMTs in glioma”
  • Willy Hugo, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
    “Targeting the residual disease in MAPK inhibitor treated melanoma”
  • Edward L. Schwartz , PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine“A novel druggable target for tumors with a mutant RB1 tumor suppressor gene”
  • Shobha Vasudevan, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital“Targeting post-transcriptional regulation underlying chemoresistance”

2020 AACR-Bristol Myers Squibb Midcareer Female Investigator Grant

  • Laura D. Wood, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University-School of Medicine
    “Defining the immune microenvironment in pancreatic IPMNs”

2019 AACR-Novocure Tumor Treating Fields Research Grant

  • Gerben R. Borst, MD, PhD, The Netherlands Cancer Institute
    “Uncovering and exploiting interphase effects of Tumor Treating Fields”

2020 AACR-Novocure Tumor Treating Fields Research Grants

  • Carsten Hagemann, PhD, Universitätsklinikum Würzburg
    “Overcoming the blood brain barrier drug delivery hurdle with TTFields”
  • Sandeep Mittal, MD, FRCSC, FACS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute
    “Epigenetic modifications induced by TTFields in patient-derived GBM cells”
  • Debabrata Saha, PhD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    “Evaluating efficacy of TTFields and radiotherapy in preclinical tumor model”
  • David D. Tran, MD, PhD, University of Florida
    “Molecular mechanism of resistance to Tumor Treating Fields in glioblastoma”
  • Christopher Douglas Willey, MD, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
    “Exploring Novo-TTF in advanced patient derived GBM models with multi-omics”

2020 AACR-PLGA Fund at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Research Grant to Optimize Drug Dosing Strategies for Pediatric LGA/LGG Patients

  • Karisa C. Schreck, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
    “Functional engagement and effect of RAF-targeted therapies in glioma”

2019 Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation-AACR Grant

  • Ali Azhdarinia, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    “Tumor-specific delivery of temozolomide to overcome resistance in GEP-NETs”

2020 Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation-AACR Grant

  • Etay Ziv, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    “Emergence of high-grade and treatment-resistant pancreatic NET subclones”

Team Science Awards:

2019 AACR-Johnson & Johnson Lung Cancer Innovation Science Grants

  • Paul M. Cinciripini, PhD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Charles Green, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    “Genetic substrates of a novel neural biomarker for smoking cessation”
  • Mary E. Cooley, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Peter Castaldi, MD, MSc, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Inc
    Sun S. Kim, PhD, University of Massachusetts Boston
    “A digitally enhanced smoking cessation intervention for high-risk smokers”