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PRESS RELEASE: Alex’s 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 18 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 18 early career, childhood cancer researchers. The 18 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.

“The funding provided by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is crucial to support young investigators, like myself, to work towards finding a cure for every child with cancer,” said Joanna Pierro, DO. “As a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, this organization is especially dear to my heart as it was started by one of ‘our’ children, who inspire us every day to fight harder towards finding a cure for this disease.”

The 18 early career researchers will conduct their studies at 12 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 scientists 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  not only hope to draw these promising researchers into the field, but to maintain their passion for finding better and safer cures and bring hope to kids and their families.”

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: www.ALSFgrants.org.

2017 Young Investigator Grant Recipients

Five of the Young Investigator Grants are generously supported by the Northwestern Mutual and Love Your Melon, as noted.

Shuibin Lin, PhD – Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA        

Role of N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) mRNA Modification Pathway in Neuroblastoma

Co-funded with Love Your Melon


Anne Robertson, PhD – Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA             

Understanding the Mechanisms of HOX Gene Regulation in Normal and Leukemic Hematopoietic Stem Cells to Identify New Therapies for Pediatric AML            


Shuobo Boboila, PhD – Columbia Institute for Cancer Genetics, New York, NY

Development of Novel Biomarkers for Immunotherapy in Neuroblastoma           


Cecile Roleau, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA              

Identifying Disease Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities in Pediatric Low-Grade Gliomas Driven by MYB-QKI Fusions

Co-funded with Northwestern Mutual


Bárbara Rivera, PhD – Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC

Cancer Susceptibility and Signaling Pathways in Low-Grade Brain Tumors           


Francesco Boccalatte, PhD – New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY   

Elucidating the Role of N-Myc in a High-risk Pediatric T Cell Leukemia      


Joanna Pierro, DO – New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY                    

Identification and Characterization of Pathways Dysregulated by MMSET E1099K Mutation in Relapsed Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Their Role in Drug Resistance             


Anastasia Tikhonova, PhD – New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY    

Identification and Targeting of Microenvironmental Factors Controlling Pediatric Leukemia        


Emily Johnston, MD – Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA    

End-of-Life Care of Children with Cancer: Variation and Stakeholder Priorities                    


Karen Bride, MD/PhD – The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA          

Preclinical Efficacy of Daratumumab in T Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia      


Andrea Flynn, MD – The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA                 

Targeting Protein Translation to Antagonize MYC-driven Neuroblastoma            


Jo Lynne Harenza, PhD – The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA       

Epigenomic Mechanisms of Neuroblastoma Tumorigenesis


Kelly Getz, PhD – The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA      

Anthracycline-Induced Cardiac Toxicity in Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia


Jeffrey Rubens, MD – The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

Targeting Glutamine Metabolism in MYC-driven Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumors


Steven Jonas, MD/PhD – University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

High-Throughput Gene-Editing via Microfluidic Cell Deformability to Enable Off-the-Shelf Allogeneic Cellular Immunotherapies           

Co-funded with Northwestern Mutual


Anica Wandler, PhD – University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Overcoming Glucocorticoid Resistance in Lymphoid Cancers       


Sakshi Uppal, PhD – University of Chicago, Chicago, IL  

The Impact of Hypoxia on Epigenetic Changes in Neuroblastoma             

Co-funded with Northwestern Mutual


Beau Webber, PhD – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN           

Development and Characterization of Novel Models of Human Osteosarcoma Development and Metastasis      

Co-funded with Northwestern Mutual