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2018 Medical Student Research Grants Announced

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Medical Student Research Awards. In furtherance of its commitment to advance melanoma science and support the most promising researchers at every stage of their career, this funding represents the largest number (11) of Medical Student research grants awarded in a single year and provides physicians in training a career path for research in melanoma.

The Medical Student Research Award is a research grant supporting medical students who propose to conduct clinical or laboratory-based melanoma research with an established investigator. Eligible areas of research can include the prevention, biology or treatment of melanoma and may focus on the study of cutaneous, ocular, mucosal or pediatric melanoma.

The MRF is committed to introducing students early in their career to the clinical or research opportunities under the mentorship of an investigator engaged in melanoma research. Begun in 2011 with the generous support of donors, this program has funded 46 medical students to date. 

2018 Medical Student Research Award Recipients:

Identification of genetic, clinical and environmental risk factors in patients with multiple primary melanomas
Principal Investigator: Emily Cai – Stanford University
Mentor: Kavita Sarin, MD, PhD – Stanford University
Note: Frank C. Campbell, MD Memorial Award

Dissecting the Ecology of Melanoma Metastasis: Size and Number Trade-Offs in Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters
Principal Investigator: Nathaniel Campbell – Weill Cornell Medicine
Mentors: Richard White, MD, PhD & Joao Xavier, PhD – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Note: The Craig P. Merkel and James K. Saunders Memorial Award

Molecular and clinical profile of melanoma in pediatric patients
Principal Investigator: William Dufficy – University of Colorado
Mentor: William Robinson, MD, PhD – University of Colorado
Note: Christy Findlay Memorial Award

Vitamin C as a Novel Therapeutic for Melanoma
Principal Investigator: Anita Gade – New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine
Mentor: Jonathan Zippin, MD, PhD – Weill Cornell Medicine
Note: Christy Findlay Memorial Award

Examining BMP signaling as a regulator of neural crest identity during melanoma initiation and progression
Principal Investigator: Alec Gramann – University of Massachusetts
Mentor: Craig Ceol, PhD – University of Massachusetts
Note: Looney Legacy Foundation Medical Student Award

Targeting the Host Immune System to Improve Viral Oncolytic Therapy
Principal Investigator: Michael Lee – University of Maryland
Mentor: Tonya Webb, PhD – University of Maryland
Note: Looney Legacy Foundation Medical Student Award

Tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells as biomarkers for response to PD-(L)1 checkpoint blockade
Principal Investigator: Steve Lu – Johns Hopkins University
Mentor: Janis Taube, MD – Johns Hopkins University
Note: Paul Massimini Memorial Award

Determinants of Response and Mechanisms of Resistance to Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocyte Therapy for Metastatic Melanoma
Principal Investigator: Jeff Meng – Harvard University
Mentor: Rameen Beroukhim, MD, PhD – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Note: Looney Legacy Foundation Medical Student Award

Effects of Obesity on the Skin Stress Response and Treatment Outcomes in Melanoma
Principal Investigator: Constance Shreckengost – Emory University
Mentor: Michael Lowe, MD – Emory University
Note: The Dieter Ernest Memorial Medical Student Award

The Role of man1a1 in Immune Evasion During Progression of Melanoma
Principal Investigator: Khiem Tran – University of Arizona
Mentor: Emanual Maverakis, MD – University of California, Davis
Note: Looney Legacy Foundation Medical Student Award

Targeting EZH2 in the Treatment of Non-Sun-Exposed Melanoma
Principal Investigator: Todd Wechter – Stony Brook University
Mentor: Iman Osman, MD- New York University
Note: Looney Legacy Foundation Medical Student Award