Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation Announces Young Investigator Grant Recipients

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Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Announces Young Investigator Grant Recipients

Young Investigator Grant supports 22 of the best and brightest young researchers with $150,000 over three years

In an effort to fund childhood cancer researchers at critical stages in their careers, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) has awarded Young Investigator Grants to 22 early career, childhood cancer researchers. The 22 grantees presented outstanding work and promising ideas in the field of pediatric oncology. The Young Investigator Grant is designed to help young researchers pursue innovative projects at leading hospitals and institutions across the country with critical startup funding, totaling $150,000 over the course of three years.

ALSF YI funding fills a critical gap by allowing someone like me to continue my work in a mentored environment while pursuing a brand-new direction,” said grantee Kenneth Chen, MD, of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “It allows me to boldly chase breakthroughs in childhood cancer, while acquiring the skills to become a successful independent investigator.”

The 22 young researchers will conduct their studies at 16 top institutions across the country. The projects will study various types of childhood cancers. A list of the scientists receiving grants, their institutions and the titles of their projects is included on the following page.

Since inception, ALSF has worked diligently to attract young doctors to the field of pediatric oncology, recognizing that these researchers hold future keys to better treatments and ultimately cures to end childhood cancers. The Young Investigator Grants were among the first grant category awarded by the Foundation and have remained an integral category as the medical grants program has grown.

“We recognized early on that in order to achieve our mission we need to engage young researchers committed to pediatric cancer investigation,” said Jay Scott, Co-Executive Director of ALSF. “Through the Young Investigator Grant, we hope not only to draw these promising researchers into the field, but to maintain their passion for finding cures for childhood cancer.”

In addition to the Young Investigator Grant, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation funds several other grant categories to researchers on the front lines of the childhood cancer fight. For more information, visit:

2016 Funded Young Investigator Grant Recipients

* Six of the Young Investigator Grants are generously supported by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation.

Nicole Anderson, PhD – Boston University, Boston, MA

Targeting Metabolism as a Therapeutic Approach for High-Risk MYCN-Driven Neuroblastoma

Asen Bagashev, PhD – The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

CD19 Delta Ex2 Isoform as a Target for Alternative Therapies in Relapsed Pediatric B-ALL

Kelly Bailey, MD, PhD – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Micro-environmental Regulators of Ewing’s Sarcoma Metastasis

Melinda Biernacki, MD – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA

Developing Targeted Immunotherapy Against Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Kristopher Bosse, MD – The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

GPC2 as an Oncogene and Immunotherapeutic Target in High-Risk Neuroblastoma

Kenneth Chen, MD – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

The Role of MiRNA Impairment in Wilms’ Tumor Formation

*David Debruyne, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Molecular Basis of ALK Inhibition Resistance in High-Risk Neuroblastoma

Amanda DiNofia, MD – The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Variation in Care and Outcomes in Pediatric Acute Leukemia

Madeline Hayes – Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

A Role for Non-canonical Wnt/PCP Signaling in Growth and Self-Renewal of Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma

*Giedre Krenciute, PhD – Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX       

Genetically Engineered T Cells as Therapy for Pediatric Glioma   

*Sunhye Lee, PhD – Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA  

Single-cell RNA-seq Profiling of Transcriptional Transition States During Human Retinoblastoma Development

Stephen Mack, PhD – The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH

Interrogating the Enhancer Landscapes of Ependymoma to Inform Novel Therapies

Kathleen Pishas, PhD – Children's Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH

Pre-clinical Evaluation of LSD1 Inhibitors for the Treatment of Pediatric Ewing’s Sarcoma: Defining the Biomarkers of Sensitivity and Mechanisms of Resistance

Timsi Rao, PhD – Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Elucidating the Role of Human FAN1 Nuclease in DNA Crosslink Repair

*Nathan Schloemer, MD – Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI

Role of Kindlin-3 in Natural Killer Cell Mediated Tumor Killing

Hui Shi, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

The Role of ARID1A in Neuroblastoma Pathogenesis      

*Emily Theisen, PhD – Children's Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH

Bad Influence: EWS/FLI Alters LSD1 and NuRD Interactions to Enforce Oncogenic Function in Ewing’s Sarcoma

Elizabeth Townsend, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Implementing MDM2 Inhibitors and Patient-derived Xenografts to Interrogate Mechanisms of Acquired Resistance and Develop Improved Treatments for Relapsed/Refractory Pediatric ALL

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