Nicole Willmarth, PhD, Joins the American Brain Tumor Association as Chief Science Officer

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August 24, 2015

Chicago, Ill., August 24, 2015 – The American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) announced today that Nicole Willmarth, PhD, most recently Susan G. Komen’s Manager of Scientific Grants Administration, joined the ABTA as Chief Science Officer.

Willmarth will have oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of the ABTA’s scientific and research grants program, which supports the development of innovative ideas across a broad range of disciplines, and fosters collaborative research to improve the lives of people living with a brain tumor. Since 1976, the ABTA has funded more than $26 million to further brain tumor research.

“Nicole brings a wealth of professional experience and depth of knowledge to the ABTA during an exciting time as we pursue a national organizational expansion,” said Elizabeth M. Wilson, MNA, president and CEO, American Brain Tumor Association. “Nicole shares our vision and is poised to lead a robust scientific and research grants program to more fully deliver on our mission to improve, extend and ultimately save lives.”

Willmarth, who holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular biology, began her career in scientific grant management with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).  She developed, launched and managed several grant mechanisms as part of AACR’s donor-directed research grants programs and provided oversight for the application and scientific review process and science management. 

She comes to the ABTA from Susan G. Komen where she oversaw the business and science management of funded research program grants. Willmarth worked with a team of science managers and grant administrators to ensure the organization’s research investment aligned with the mission, maximized potential and supported work efficiently. This included rigorous oversight of reporting and consideration of project, personnel, and other change requests as well as policy implementation.

“I am excited to lead a team that is building and expanding upon the extraordinary work  ABTA-funded researchers already have achieved,” said Willmarth.  “Through consistent and steady growth, the ABTA’s scientific and research grants program has made important contributions to our understanding of brain tumors and annually funds researchers who are pursuing novel approaches that could help transform the way brain tumors are treated. I am privileged to work with staff and scientists dedicated to improving the lives of those living with a brain tumor.”

The American Brain Tumor Association is a leader in advancing the understanding of the causes, effects, diagnosis, and treatment of brain tumors through its scientific and research grants program. In addition to Discovery Grants that are awarded to scientists pursuing novel research directions, the ABTA provides support to early career scientists through Basic Research Fellowships and Medical Student Summer Fellowships.  The ABTA also jointly sponsors clinical research and feasibility studies that increase the impact of its funding.

Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association was first and is now the only national organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing education and information on all tumor types and for all age groups. For more information, visit or call 800-886-ABTA (2282).