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Masonic Cancer Center announces fall internal grant awards

The Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota recently announced the awarding of $730,000 in pilot grants through its fall 2023 Internal Grant Program. Support for these grants is made available by the center through a variety of funding sources, including the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and Minnesota Masonic Charities.

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

VISTA CAR-T for treatment of Myelodysplastic syndrome
Jeremy Allred, MD

Award Amount: $40,000

Health Beliefs and Behaviors of Lung Cancer Screening in Chinese Americans
Fang Lei, PhD, MPH, MSN
Award Amount: $40,000

Cancer Research Translational Initiative (CRTI) Exceptional Translational Research Awards

ATM inhibition for the treatment of TP53-altered metastatic prostate cancer: A novel synthetic lethality
Emmanuel Antonarakis, MD; R. Stephanie Huang, PhD; Justin Drake, PhD; Hai Dang Nguyen, PhD; Ali Arafa, MD

Award Amount: $100,000

Impact of discrimination on cardiovascular health in breast cancer survivors treated with aromatase inhibitors: link to gut microbiome
Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD; Anne Blaes, MD, MS; Christopher Staley, PhD; Candyce Kroenke, MPH, ScD; Annie Lin, PhD; Levi Teigen, PhD, RD

Award Amount: $100,000

Masonic Cancer Center Catchment Community Pilot Awards

SAVETHEBOTTOMS!!! @ PRIDE: Implementation of Two Novel Community-based Anal Cancer Screening Strategies
Elliot Arsoniadis, MD, PhD; Lauren Fontana, DO; Anjum Kaka, MD; Rebekah Pratt, PhD; Anne-Marie Leuck, MD

Award Amount: $100,00020

Developing and pilot testing an intervention to reduce household shisha smoke exposure within Somali homes
April Wilhelm, MD, MPH; Irina Stepanov, PhD

Award Amount: $100,000

Muggee Research Award for Pediatric Cancer

Targeting the PHD chromatin binding domain of BPTF for neuroblastoma epigenetic therapy
William Pomerantz, PhD

Award Amount: $50,000

Pre-R01 Brainstorm Awards

The Role of Immunosenescence in Delayed Anthracycline-induced Cardiac Complications
Beshay Zordoky, PhD; Christina Camell, PhD; Karim Sadak, MD, MPH, MSE

Award Amount: $100,000

Uncovering mechanisms of PARP inhibitor sensitivity in SF3B1-mutant cancers
Hai Dang Nguyen, PhD; Nuri Alpay Temiz, PhD

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 30 years. Our researchers, educators, and care providers work to discover the causes, prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer and cancer-related diseases as well as provide whole-of-life care and resources for survivorship. Learn more at