Research Grant Recipients

The Melanoma Research Foundation is proud to present a number of Research Grant Awards. Junior Investigator (Career Development) Awards are up to $50,000 per year for two years. Starting in 2006 the MRF also began awarding Senior (Established) Investigator Awards. Senior Investigator Grant Awards are up to $100,000 per year for two years. In addition, 2011 marked the first year MRF began awarding Medical Student Research Grants. The Medical Student Awards are one-year grants of up to $3,000.

2013

Career Development Award

Principal Investigator: Dr. Alejandro Villagra - H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Project Name: Role of HDAC6 in the modulation of immune-related pathways in melanoma

Established Investigator Award

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jacqueline Lees - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Project Name: Elucidating the role of BMI1 in metastatic melanoma

Medical Student Award

Principal Investigator: Andrew Kim - NYU School of Medicine
Project Name: Investigating a role for the Oculocutaneous Albinism Type 2 (OCA2) protein and p53 pathway in melanoma chemoresistance

Career Development Award

Principal Investigator: Dr. Xi Luo - Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Cancer
Project Name: Monitoring melanoma targeted therapy using microfluidic CTC-Chip

Career Development Award

Principal Investigator: Dr. Narendra Wajapeyee
Project Name: An integrative genomics approach to identify metabolic drivers of melanoma

Career Development Award - CURE OM

Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Carvajal - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Project Name: Overcoming resistance to MEK inhibition in advanced uveal melanoma

Medical Student Award

Principal Investigator: Scott Lindsey - University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Project Name: A potential role for Rec8 in genomic instability during melanomagenesis

Career Development Award

Principal Investigator: Dr. Brian Pollack - Emory University
Project Name: The impact of BRAF oncogenic events on immune gene expression

Career Development Award

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ana Anderson - Brigham and Women's Hospital
Project Name: TIGIT-mediated regulation of immune syppression in melanoma

Medical Student Award

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Douglas - Yale University School of Medicine
Project Name: Antidepressants and melanoma: Is there a link?

Established Investigator Award

Principal Investigator: Dr. Eduardo Davila - University of Maryland, Baltimore
Project Name: Modulating immunosuppressive signals in cancer cells using FDA-approved compounds

Medical Student Award

Principal Investigator: Keith Roby - University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
Project Name: Role of human antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin and mast cells in IL-9 mediated melanoma immunity

Established Investigator Award - CURE OM

Principal Investigator: Dr. William Tansey - Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Project Name: MYC as an invisible driver in metastatic uveal melanoma

Established Investigator Award

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ze'ev Ronai - Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Project Name: Understanding and targeting ER stress pathways in melanoma

Medical Student Award

Principal Investigator: Sara Harcharik - Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Project Name: Defining the role of CD2 in disease progression and overall survival among patients with resectable primary melanoma

Career Development Award

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ross Flockhart - Stanford University
Project Name: The BRAF-regulated IncRNA BANCR regulates melanoma cell migration

2012

Established Investigator Award - CURE OM

Principal Investigator: Dr. Levi Garraway - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Project Name: Dissecting therapeutic avenues in UM through genomic and functional studies

In memory of Amanda Carter-Horn and in honor of Neil Gaines and the participants in the Mela-no-no and Central Ohio Pasta Dinner fundraisers

Principal Investigator: Dr. Barbara Bedogni - Case Western Reserve University-School of Medicine
Project Name: MT1-MMP as a target for treating melanoma

Established Investigator Award - CURE OM

Principal Investigator: Dr. John Sondek - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Project Name: Interdiction of signaling by G-alpha-q to treat ocular melanoma

In memory of Terry Patters and Yvette M. Jarvis

Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Witze - The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
Project Name: The role of cell polarity in metastatic melanoma

Medical Student Award - In honor of Dancers United Concert for a Cause

Principal Investigator: Elisha Garg - David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Project Name: RTK coactiviation in BRAF inhibitor resistant melanomas

In memory of Kevin Brue and in honor of participants in the Miles for Melanoma program

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sohail Tavazoie - The Rockefeller University
Project Name: Discovery & therapeutic targeting of a metastatic microRNA in melanoma

Medical Student Award - In memory of Robert Hansen and Brad Lanpher

Principal Investigator: Jillian W. Wong - University of Utah Medical School
Project Name: Assessing TSPY as a marker for melanoma progression in men

Medical Student Award - In memory of George Wilkins

Principal Investigator: Tatyana Petukhova - Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University
Project Name: Measurement of macrophage derived interferon gamma levels in melanoma patients post UV radiation exposure

In memory of Kent McCullough

Principal Investigator: Dr. Li Wang - Trustees of Dartmouth College
Project Name: Mechanisms of VISTA-mediated immune suppression in cancer

In honor of participants in Wings of Hope, DC - 3 year award in conjunction with the Melanoma Research Alliance

Principal Investigator: Dr. Marcus Bosenberg - Yale University
Project Name: Optimizing combined targeted and immune melanoma therapies

Medical Student Award - In honor of participants in the Suncoast Miles for Melanoma

Principal Investigator: Nisha V. Shah - University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Project Name: Treatment outcomes with bevacizumab and triamcinolone for posterior uveal melanoma in patients undergoing I-125 plaque brachytherapy

In memory of Aaron Anchor and Edward A. Merullo

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ryan Wilcox - The Regents of the University of Michigan
Project Name: Identification of predictive biomarkers in metastatic melanoma

In honor of participants in Wings of Hope, San Francisco

Principal Investigator: Dr. Andrew Aplin - Thomas Jefferson University
Project Name: Targeting TBK1 in mutant NRAS melanoma

Medical Student Award - In memory of Thomas Gutheil

Principal Investigator: Adam J. Widman - Weill Cornell Medical College
Project Name: Soluble adenylyl cyclase regulates melanoma through autophagy

2011

In memory of Kerry Daveline, Mike Revers, Kathy Bowers, Patricia Schellhardt Malone, Tom Butler, and Jonnie Newcomer - 3 year award co-funded with the Melanoma Research Alliance

Principal Investigator: Dr. J. William Harbour - Washington University, St. Louis
Project Name: Characterization of the BAP1 uveal melanoma metastasis suppressor gene

In memory of Andrea Sheridan and Steve Casey, and in honor of participants in Miles for Melanoma of Delaware and Tracy Welge

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jim (Jianxun) Song - The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
Project Name: Impact of iPS cell-derived highly reactive T lymphocytes on melanoma

In memory of Paul Mikaulauskas, Nate Bloom, Gloria Wennerstrand, and Denny Neely, and in honor of the members of the 2010 Krokodiloes, Tigertones, and Whiffenpoofs

Principal Investigator: Dr. Qin Yan - Yale University
Project Name: Roles of epigenetic regulator JARID1B in metastatic melanoma

Medical Student Grant - In honor of Project Red Walrus

Principal Investigator: Adele Haimovic - NYU School of Medicine
Project Name: Defining the melanoma anti-glycan antibody recurrence signature

The Cosmopolitan Practice Safe Sun Research Grant

Principal Investigator: Dr. Cynthia Cooper - Washington State University
Project Name: Balancing melanophore number in Danio rerio zebrafish

In memory of Susan Fazio and Lenore Goldberg

Principal Investigator: Dr. Matthew VanBrocklin - Nevada Cancer Institute
Project Name: Evaluating c-Kit in mucosal melanoma

Medical Student Grant - In memory of Staff Sgt. Jon Warrington and Brad Lanpher

Principal Investigator: Jason E. Hawkes - The University of Utah School of Medicine
Project Name: GNAQ and GNA11 germ-line mutations as potential genetic biomarkers of increased melanoma risk in hereditary melanoma families

In honor of participants in Miles for Melanoma of New Jersey

Principal Investigator: Dr. Kosaku Iwatsubo - UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
Project Name: Epac1 as a target for treating melanoma

In honor of the participants in the Team M4M Marathon Training Program

Principal Investigator: Dr. Antoni Ribas - The Regents of the University of California
Project Name: Understanding of CTLA4 blockade and its combination with BRAF inhibition

Medical School Grant - In memory of Robert Hansen, and in honor of Simple Serenity Spa and Wellness, LLC

Principal Investigator: Diane Tseng - Stanford University School of Medicine
Project Name: Genetic alterations in benign melanocytic neoplasms and invasive melanomas arising in the female genital tract

2010

The Diana Ashby Award - In memory of Brenda MacDonald and Peggy Spiegler.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sean Morrison - The University of Michigan
Project Name: The Regulation of Melanoma Metastasis

In memory of Bill Walter III, George A. Wilkins, Edward A. Merullo, Randy G. Johnson, Leonard E. Warren, Amanda Carter-Horn, and Don Aronow.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Minjung Kim - H. Lee Moffitt Cancer & Research Center
Project Name: Understanding Molecular Mechanisms for the Role of NEDD9 in Melanoma Progression

In memory of Brad Lanpher, Peter Labyak, Jim Foy, Larry Katz, James O'Robbins, Larry Poplawski, Cathy Beelaert, and Kathy Bowers; and in honor of Katie Brennan.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Roger Lo - UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
Project Name: Improving Melanoma Response to BRAF V600E Targeting

In memory of Tom Triphahn, Harold Quade, and Marilyn Taheny; and in honor of the Too Faced Cosmetics' Love Lisa Award and participants of the Ragnar Relay.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Eva Hernando - NYU School of Medicine
Project Name: Study of the role of MicroRNAs in melanoma brain tropism

In honor of participants of Team M4M and the Miles for Melanoma program.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Kelly McMasters - University of Louisville
Project Name: Develop a Prognostic Scoring System in Node-Negative Melanoma Patients

In memory of Kevin Anderson and Aaron Anchor, and in honor of Neil Gaines and participants from Dermatology Interest Group Association.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ali Jazirehi - The Regents of the University of California
Project Name: Molecular Determinants of Apoptosis Resistance in Melanoma Clinical Immunotherapy

2009

Award in memory of Michael Geltrude and James O. Robbins; funding provided by the Mike Geltrude Foundation and JCK Foundation

Principal Investigator: Vladislava Melnikova
Project Name: Regulation of Melanoma Metastasis by the Tumor Microenvironment: the Role of Platelet Activating Factor (PAF) and PAF Receptor

The Diana Ashby Award

Principal Investigator: Edward Harlow
Project Name: Requirements for MITF-regulated Melanomas: Identification of Novel Drug Targets

Award from The Bill Walter III Melanoma Research Fund, The New Jersey Miles for Melanoma and in honor of Landa Martin

Principal Investigator: Keiran Smalley
Project Name: Targeted Therapy for Melanoma

Award in honor of 2008 Wings of Hope Recipient: Dr. Howard Kaufman and The Too Faced Cosmetics' Love Lisa Award

Principal Investigator: SubbaRao Madhunapantula
Project Name: Targeting Kinases to Treat Melanomas

The Susan Fazio Foundation for Melanoma Research Award

Principal Investigator: Vitali Alexeev
Project Name: MicroRNA in Regulation and Targeting of the cKit Receptor in Malignant Melanoma

2008

The Too Faced Cosmetics' Love Lisa Award

Principal Investigator: Soheil Dadras
Project Name: Investigating the Role of Small Ribonucleic Acids (RNAs) in the Progression of Cutaneous Melanoma

The Diana Ashby Award in Memory of Danny Federici and the E Street Band

Principal Investigator: Edward DeFabo
Project Name: Mechanism of UVB initiation of melanoma: a novel in vivo approach

The Life4Life Foundation Award

Principal Investigator: Jedd Wolchok
Project Name: Particle Mediated Epidermal Delivery of Xenogeneic gp100 DNA Vaccines for Melanoma

Award in Memory of Don Aronow

Principal Investigator: Susanne Schlisio
Project Name: Neuronal Apoptosis by the Prolyl Hydroxylase EgIN3: Oxygen sensing and Cancer

Award in Memory of James R. Robbins

Principal Investigator: Patrick Hwu
Project Name: Regulatory immune cell interactions in the microenvironment of melanoma metastases

Award in Honor of Kelly's Dream and The New Jersey Miles for Melanoma Walk

Principal Investigator: Karen Taraszka Hastings
Project Name: Role of lysosomal thiolreductase GILT in the activation of melanoma-specific T lymphocytes

Award in Honor of Balmoral Turkey Trot, Carter's Crusade Black Ribbon Ball, Cincinnati Miles for Melanoma Teams, Full Spectrum Dermatology, Dan & Pam Howard, and Dean Packer

Principal Investigator: William Kim
Project Name: Interrogating the role of HIF in malignant melanoma

The Brenda MacDonald Melanoma Foundation Award

Principal Investigator: Paul Antony
Project Name: Inducing Potent Anti-Tumor Immunity Against Melanoma Using Cytokine/Antibody Immune Complexes

The Susan Fazio Melanoma Research Foundation Award

Principal Investigator: Boris C. Bastian
Project Name: Integrating Genetic and Morphologic Features of Melanoma to Improve Disease Classification

2007

Award in Honor of Katie Brennan, Dr. Casey Culbertson, Mr. & Mrs. Doug Eckrote, William Gelston, Keith Hennessey, Debbie Martel, Jennifer Mitchell and Jay & Barbie Otto

Principal Investigator: Alexander Krupnick
Project Name: Origin of Regulatory CD4-T Cells in Metastic Malignant Melanoma.

The Susan Fazio Melanoma Research Foundation Award

Principal Investigator: Arati Sharma
Project Name: Developing Novel Compounds to Inhibit Akt3 Signaling in Melanoma

Award in Honor of 2007 Wings of Hope Recipients: Gregory & Jeanine Rush and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

Principal Investigator: Kevin Brown
Project Name: Population-based Whole Genome Association Study of Melanoma Risk Using DNA Pooling

Award in Memory of John Geltrude and Tricia Elaine Black by Teb's Troops

Principal Investigator: Arati Sharma
Project Name: Developing Novel Compounds to Inhibit Akt3 Signaling in Melanoma

The Bill Walter III Melanoma Research Fund and Jeanie O'Malley D'Ambrose

Principal Investigator: Victoria Crotzer
Project Name: LAMP-2 Function in Cytoplasmic Antigen Presentation by Human Melanomas

Award in Memory of Brian Anderson, Tom Butler, Dr. R. Scott Heath, George Madzia, Carl Osterlof, Bruce Schocken, Bob Whitman and George A. Wilkins

Principal Investigator: Gregory Lesinski
Project Name: The Role of Suppressors of Cytokine Signaling (SOCS) in Mediating the Anti-tumor Proprties of Interferon-alpha (IFN-a)

The Susan Fazio Melanoma Research Foundation Award

Principal Investigator: Xiaowe Xu
Project Name: The Role of Erythropoietin and Its Receptor in Melanoma Cell Survival in Vivo

Award in Honor of Dermatology Interest Group Association and Miles for Melanoma Team Members

Principal Investigator: Angela Hess
Project Name: EphA2 as a Therapeutic Target for Malignana Melanoma

Award in Memory of Kent McCullough

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Lee
Project Name: The Molecular Mechanism of Melanoma Sentinel Node Immunosuppression

2006

Award in Memory of Thomas E. Coveny, Jack Maroulis

Principal Investigator: James E. Bear
Project Name: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill "The Role of Coactosin in Melanoma Motility and Metastasis"

Senior Grant Award Diana Ashby Award in Memory

Principal Investigator: Martin McMahon
Project Name: University of California, San Francisco "A Mouse Model of BRAF-induced Melanoma"

Award in Memory of Thomas W. Barner, Michael Benso

Principal Investigator: Mikhail Nikiforov
Project Name: University of Michigan “Small Molecule Antagonists of Oncoprotein Myc as Inhibitors of Malignant Melanoma”

Award in Honor of Allured Publishing, Steve Czaban

Principal Investigator: Mary Jo Turk
Project Name: Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth College, Lebanon, New Hampshire "Generating and Maintaining Post-Excisional Immunity against Poorly-Immunogenic Melanoma"

Award in Memory of Brian Anderson, Dr. R. Scott He

Principal Investigator: Pamela Pollock
Project Name: Translational Genomics Research Institute, Phoenix, Arizona "Investigation of FGFR2 as a Novel Oncogene in Melanoma"

Award in Memory of Don Aronow, Cathleen Roe Eagan,

Principal Investigator: Antoni Ribas
Project Name: University of California Los Angeles "Mechanisms of Immune System-mediated Tumor Regressions in Patients with Melanoma"

2005

Bill Walter III Melanoma Research Fund Award

Principal Investigator: Jianli Dong
Project Name: University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston) "Targeting BRAF and INK4A Lesions in Melanoma Treatment"

Diana Ashby Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Sheri L. Holmen
Project Name: Van Andel Research Institute (Grand Rapids, Michigan) "Identification of Novel Molecular Targets for the Treatment of Melanoma"

The Jeanie O’Malley D’Ambrose Memorial Award

Principal Investigator: Noah Craft
Project Name: Harbor- UCLA Medical Center "Immunotherapy Against Melanoma"

2004

Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation Award

Principal Investigator: Suzie Chen
Project Name: Rutgers University "Characterization of Melanocyte Transformation by Grm1"

Award in Honor of 2003 Wings of Hope Recipients: Allured Puslishing, Dr. Allan Halpern, Scott Klau and Marshall Ramsey

Principal Investigator: R. Bryan Sutton
Project Name: University of Texas Medical Branch,Galveston "Crystal Structure of Recombinant Melanoma Differentiation Associated Protein-7 (IL-24): Engineering MDA-7 for Therapeutic Purposes"

Foundation for Melanoma Research Award

Principal Investigator: Gavin Robertson
Project Name: Penn State University,M.S.Hershey Medical Center "Functional Significance of the Activating V599E B-Raf Mutation in Melanoma Tumorigenesis"

Award in Honor of Char Kurant and Heidi Coughlin

Principal Investigator: Mayumi Fujita
Project Name: University of Colorado Health Sciences Center "Yeast Vaccine: A Novel Melanoma Vaccine."

2003

Diana Ashby Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Robert Fuhlbrigge
Project Name: Brigham and Women's Hospital "Regulation of 'T' Cell Migration into Melanoma Metastases"

Don Aronow Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Gershenwald
Project Name: at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center "Role of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-D (VEGF-D) in the Biology of Melanoma Lymphatic Metastasis"

2001

James Whittenberg Memorial Research Award and the Don Aronow Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Michael S. Kolodney
Project Name: University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine "The role of rho Isoprenylation in Melanoma Invasion"

Diana Ashby Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Victor Faundez
Project Name: Emory University "Selective Disruption of Melanosome Biogenesis: A Possible Therapeutic Adjuvant in Melanoma Treatment"

Other grants for patient support

Principal Investigator: Dirk Ruiter
Project Name: The International Congress for Pigmented Cell Research, held in The Netherlands, organizer.

Jason Armstrong Memorial Research Award and the Kerr, Russell and. Weber Melanoma Research Award

Principal Investigator: John Biggerstaff
Project Name: University of Central Florida "The Role of Soluble Fibrin in Leukocyte Adherence and Cytotoxity of Melanoma Cells"

2000

Kathy Salling Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Pawel Kalinski
Project Name: University of Pittsburgh " Induction of anti-melanoma immune responses with interferon-g-polarized DC (Dentritic Cells)"

Diana Ashby Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Clemens Esche
Project Name: University of Pittsburgh "Protection of Dendritic Cells from Melanoma-induced Apoptosis for Tumor Vaccination"

Martin Schneider Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Lori White
Project Name: Rutgers University "The effect of Environmental Factors on Melanoma Invasion and Metastasis"

1999

Diana Ashby Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Andrew P. Kowalczyk
Project Name: Assistant Professor at the Departments of Dermatology, Cell Biology and The Emory Skin Diseases Research Center, Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, GA "Role of Cadherins in Melanoma Transmigration and Metastasis"

Other grants for patient support

Principal Investigator: Dorothea Becker
Project Name: At the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, in support of a scientific meeting related to novel melanoma research that was held in June, 2000.

1998

Diana Ashby Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Mark A. Nelson
Project Name: Assistant Professor at the Arizona Cancer Center, of the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ "Testing E2F1 as a Candidate Oncogene Involved in Melanoma"

Diana Ashby Memorial Research Award

Principal Investigator: Warren Chow
Project Name: Staff Physician in the Department of Medical Oncology at the City of Hope National Medical Center, in Duarte, CA "Regulation of Fas Ligand in Melanoma"