Cancer Center announces pilot grant awards

April 30, 2014 College News - Seed grants are critical to the future of cancer research, and provide investigators with initial backing to further their science, collect data, publish, and secure NIH funding. These awards help develop young researchers, but also support some of our most innovative investigators and the very newest ideas in cancer research. 

MCW Cancer Center pilot funds are awarded through a rigorous peer-review process, and the career development awards require that investigators participate in mentoring programs. This not only results in scientific excellence, but ensures that funds are leveraged appropriately and result in a high return on investment. 

We are excited to announce the pilot grant awards from our recent request for applications (RFA).  Congratulations to all grant awardees and thank you to everyone who applied.  We are particularly grateful to the faculty members serving on our seed grant review committees, and for their time and dedication in evaluating and scoring our applications.  

  • The inaugural Kurtis R. Froedtert Clinical Trials Seed Grant was awarded to Dr. Ben George for his application titled, A phase I/II Study of Intraperitoneal Docetaxel plus mFOLFOX6 for Gastric Cancer Patients with Peritoneal Carcinomatosis. This is a significant award of $150,000 over two years. There were four applications submitted for this opportunity, which were peer-reviewed by the Clinical Research Seed Grant Review Committee. 
  • Dr. Christopher Chitambar received the Thomas A. and Lorraine M. Rosenberg Award for Translational Cancer Research for his project, A Brain Tumor Stem Cell Model for the Evaluation of Novel Metallodrugs to Treat Glioblastoma. Dr. Chitambar’s grant application was one of five that was peer-reviewed by a panel of fourteen faculty members and ranked on the basis of significance, approach, novelty or innovation, investigator(s), and environment. This grant award is made possible through the generous support of the Rosenberg Family and the Froedtert Hospital Foundation.
  • The WBCS Independent Research Seed Grants in Breast or Prostate Cancer were awarded to Dr. Howard Jacob for his project, Mapping Genetic Risks of Breast Cancer in the Tumor Microenvironment, to Dr. Vera Tarakanova for her project titled, Regulation of Innate Immune Responses by Breast Cancer Therapy, and to Dr. Weiguo Cui for a project titled, Harnessing Dual-Specific T Cells in Breast Cancer Immunotherapy.  In addition, Dr. Qing (Robert) Miao was awarded a second year of funding for his project titled, Roles of Nogo-B receptor (NgBR) in Breast Cancer Initiation and Progression.
  • American Cancer Society Pilot Research Grants were awarded to Dr. Rebekah Gundry for her application, Mechanism of STF-31 Mediated Toxicity in Pancreatic Cancer, and to Dr. Stefan Schieke for his application, mTOR Inhibitors in Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma: Therapeutic Efficacy and Molecular Mechanisms.  These awards are funded by the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant, which MCW has held for over 25 years.  There were six ACS applications submitted for this cycle and the grants were peer-reviewed by the ACS Institutional Research Grant Review Committee.
  • The Independent Research Seed Grant in Breast or Prostate Cancer, funded by the State of Wisconsin Income Tax Check-Off Program in Breast or Prostate Cancer Research was awarded to Dr. Deepak Kilari for his project titled, Utility of Exosomal RNAs to Predict Responses to Androgen Deprivation Therapy in Prostate Cancer Patients, and to Dr. Peter LaViolette for his project, Histological Validation of MRI of the Prostate. There were seven applications for this award that were peer-reviewed by our faculty committees.
  • Dr. Balyanaraman Kalyanaraman and Dr. Mike Dwinell received a Cancer Center Large Center Grant Supplemental Award for their project, Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targeting of Pancreatic Cancer Malignancy. This award is funded by Cancer Center philanthropic support.

We expect to release the Spring Cycle RFA in early June. For more information about MCW Cancer Center seed grants, NCI grant opportunities and other cancer research opportunities, please visit our funding web page.

You can also direct questions and inquires via email to Mike Anello, the MCW Cancer Center Research Grants Coordinator, at

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