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Masonic Cancer Center announces fall 2022 internal grant awards

The Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota recently announced the awarding of $700,000 in pilot grants through its fall 2022 Internal Grant Program. Support for these grants is made available by the center through a variety of funding sources, including the National Cancer Institute, Minnesota Masonic Charities, and the Lyle and Gretchen Shaw Cancer Research Fund.

The purpose of this program is to promote innovation, spark research collaborations, and support novel research concepts with the goal of answering the toughest cancer research questions. The goal of the program is to fund pilot projects that lead to nationally peer-reviewed grant funding.

Please join us in thanking the Masonic Cancer Center’s support partners and congratulating this year’s award recipients.

American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grants

Feasibility of a Nature Based Intervention in Young Adult Cancer Survivors 
Erica Timko Olson, MS, PhD
Award Amount: $40,000

Delineating the mechanisms of PKM2 mediated genetic and epigenetic regulation in CD8 T cells
Vivek Verma, PhD
Award Amount: $40,000

Cancer Research Translational Initiative (CRTI) Exceptional Translational Research Awards

Pre-clinical testing of a B7-H3 targeting chimeric antigen receptor NK (B7-H3 CAR-iNK) construct in preparation for a first-in-human glioblastoma trial 
Jianfang Ning, PhD, Jeffrey Miller, MD
Award Amount: $100,000

Minnesota Annotated Genomics In Cancer (MAGIC) - An interactive multi-omics portal to study Masonic Cancer Center prostate cancer patients
Justin Hwang, PhD, Emmanuel Antonarakis, MD, Jinhua Wang, PhD
Award Amount: $100,000

Karen Wyckoff Rein in Sarcoma Foundation Grant 

Targeting the Cell Cycle and Autophagy Reciprocal Communication Pathways in Sarcomas 
Erin Dickerson, PhD
Award Amount: $50,000

Masonic Cancer Center Catchment Community Pilot Awards

Community Voices for Health: Using participatory research methods to develop interventions that promote cancer prevention and screening among Somali community members in Minnesota 
Rebekah Pratt, PhD
Award Amount: $100,000

Developing Cancer Prevention Capacity through Community Health Workers
Ivan Wu, PhD, Abdifatah Ali, PhD
Award Amount: $100,000

Muggee Research Award for Pediatric Cancer

Adipokine dysregulation underlying the association between maternal body mass index and offspring ALL risk 
Lucie Turcotte, MD, MPH, MS  
Award Amount: $50,000

Pre-R01 Brainstorm Awards

The role of the proteasome in TP53 mutant AML self-renewal 
Zohar Sachs, MD, PhD, Do-Hyung Kim, PhD
Award Amount: $100,000

Oncolytic Adenovirus-Mediated Viroimmunotherapy and Imaging for ER+ Breast Cancer
Julia Davydova, MD, PhD, Julie Ostrander, PhD, Anne Blaes, MD, Christopher LaRocca, MD Zuzan Cayci, MD
Award Amount: $100,000

About the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota

The Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, is the Twin Cities’ only Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated ‘Outstanding’ by the National Cancer Institute. As Minnesota’s Cancer Center, we have served the entire state for more than 25 years. Our researchers, educators, and care providers have worked to discover the causes, prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer and cancer-related diseases. Learn more at