AACR, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Awards Research Grants to Early-Career Investigators


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The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network awarded nine grants to outstanding scientists who will undertake novel research in the field of pancreatic cancer.

Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA

Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA

Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc)

Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc)

“By recruiting the brightest scientists with the most novel ideas, we continue to build a broad research community,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, President and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “These award recipients are poised to make significant scientific and clinical discoveries to the field, and we look forward to tracking their progress.”

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network–AACR joint Research Grants Program was introduced in 2003 and has since awarded over $30 million to support promising scientists and accelerate pancreatic cancer research. Grant recipients are selected through a competitive peer-review process, and grantees receive professional support as part of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Community for Progress in conjunction with their funding.

“Early-career investigators are absolutely vital to the future progress against all types of cancer,” said ­Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), CEO of the AACR. “They are the source of many novel, ambitious ideas that move the field forward. The AACR is delighted to continue its partnership with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to help fund early-career investigators undertaking innovative projects that have the potential to lead to major breakthroughs that will prevent, detect, and treat pancreatic cancer, one of the [deadliest] of all ­cancers.”

Pathway to Leadership Grants

The 2016 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network–AACR Pathway to Leadership Grants are up to 5 years in duration, totaling $600,000. These grants are designed to support the future leadership of pancreatic cancer research by funding outstanding early-career investigators in a postdoctoral, mentored research position and continuing through successful transition to independence. This year’s recipients are:

  • Ethan Abel, PhD, University of Michigan
    “The Role and Regulation of ­HNF1A in Pancreatic Cancer Cells”
  • Rohit Chandwani, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    “The Epigenetic Plasticity of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma”
  • Wantong Yao, MD, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center 
    Supported in memory of Carina Rogerson
    “Syndecan-1 Is a Novel Regulator for Nutrient Salvage Pathway”

Last year, the 2015 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network–AACR Pathway to Leadership Grant was awarded to:

  • Kirsten L. Bryant, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    “Exploiting Pancreatic Cancer Cell Metabolism for Therapeutic Gain”

Career Development Awards

The 2016 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network–AACR Career Development Awards are 2-year grants of $200,000 that are designed to attract and support early-career scientists as they conduct pancreatic cancer research and establish successful career paths in the field. This year’s recipients are:

  • Shuibing Chen, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College 
    “Targeting Chemoresistant Stem Cells in Pancreatic Cancer”
  • Kian-Huat Lim, MD, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
    Supported in honor of Laurie MacCaskill
    “Deactivating the Innate Immune Defense Mechanism of Pancreatic Cancer” 
  • Rushika M. Perera, PhD, University of California, San Francisco 
    Supported in memory of Skip Viragh
    “Targeting Nutrient Scavenging Pathways That Fuel Pancreatic Cancer Growth”
  • Amber Simpson, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 
    “CT Texture Analysis: A Radiomics Approach to Predicting Malignancy in Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasms”
  • Christopher Vakoc, MD, PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
    Supported by The Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation
    “Enhancer Reprogramming as a Driver of Pancreatic Cancer ­Progression” ■
Ethan Abel, PhD

Ethan Abel, PhD

Rohit Chandwani, MD, PhD

Rohit Chandwani, MD, PhD

Wantong Yao, MD, PhD

Wantong Yao, MD, PhD

Kirsten L. Bryant, <br />PhD

Kirsten L. Bryant,
PhD

Shuibing Chen, <br />PhD

Shuibing Chen,
PhD

Kian-Huat Lim, MD, PhD

Kian-Huat Lim, MD, PhD

Rushika M. Perera, PhD

Rushika M. Perera, PhD

Amber Simpson, PhD

Amber Simpson, PhD

Christopher Vakoc, MD, PhD

Christopher Vakoc, MD, PhD



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