Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 17:20 EDT

Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation Awards $100,000 in Research Scholarships

April 16, 2013

WESTMINSTER, Md., April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation (JMNMF) awarded ten $10,000, nationally competitive, “Research Scholar Awards” (RSA) to exceptional graduate student melanoma researchers at leading cancer centers across the U.S. The JMNMF increased funding again in 2013, to significantly enhance the potential for advancements in the melanoma cancer field; and, to increase the number of young scientists choosing melanoma research as their professional career. First in the U.S. to fund graduate melanoma researchers, the JMNMF has awarded over $400,000 since 2006, and has attracted 146 applications from 47 prominent cancer centers and universities.

More than a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year and melanoma, the most serious and lethal form of skin cancer, accounts for ~75% of all skin cancer deaths. In 2013, 76,690 new cases of melanoma are projected to be diagnosed in the U.S. and 9,480 individuals are expected to die. The lifetime risk of developing melanoma is 1 in 50.

According to Regina Shannon Bodnar, JMNMF Chair, “Our Foundation’s ‘Research Scholar Awards’ are invaluable at the grassroots level, to specifically grow interest in melanoma research, at leading cancer research centers nationwide. If we can attract the brightest young minds, that are considering or are already within the nation’s cancer research pipelines, to pursue a career in melanoma research – we’re that much closer to better understanding the disease, identifying the means for effective treatments and, most importantly, finding a cure for this deadly and increasingly prevalent disease.”

In 2013, the JMNMF is very pleased to award the following students and their institutions:

  • Matthew Alexander, Dartmouth College – Norris Cotton Cancer Center
  • David Benjamin, Massachusetts Inst. of Technology- Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
  • Giuseppina Claps, Sanford-Burnham Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences – Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
  • Katherine E. Hutchinson, Vanderbilt University – Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Amanpreet Kaur, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia – The Wistar Institute
  • Janani Krishnamurthy, University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Curtis H. Kugel, III, Thomas Jefferson University – Kimmel Cancer Center
  • Andrew Sedgewick, University of Pittsburgh – University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
  • Elizabeth Shenk, Boston University – Boston Medical Center
  • Andressa Sodre C. Laino, University of South Florida – H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center

The 2013 RSA applicant pool included: a record-level 44, of the most promising graduate melanoma research candidates; their mentoring lab directors; and, 28 prominent National Cancer Institute (or AACI) cancer centers – eight as first-time institutional participants. The JMNMF Research Scholar Award program tremendously benefits the broader academic, scientific, clinical and patient communities.

The JMNMF also proudly recognizes the RSA Professional Advisory Board, expanded in 2013 to accommodate the program’s growth, who unselfishly review student researcher applications, and provide extensive expertise and professionalism in evaluating candidate applications, including:

Rhoda M. Alani, M.D.
Andrew E. Aplin, Ph.D.
Marcus W. Bosenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
Paul B. Chapman, M.D.
Jeffrey E. Gershenwald, M.D., FACS
John M. Kirkwood, M.D.
David W. Mullins, Ph.D.
Gavin P. Robertson, Ph.D.
Yardena Samuels, Ph.D.
Jedd D. Wolchock, M.D., Ph.D.

Gregory Safko
Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation
(410) 857-4890

SOURCE Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation

Source: PR Newswire