American Brain Tumor Association Awards 17 Research Grants

CHICAGO, Ill., November 16, 2021

The American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) today announced the funding of $427,000 towards 17 new 2021 research grants to improve brain tumor science and discovery. With more than $33.5 million invested in research to date, across all brain tumor types and ages, the ABTA research program plays a critical role in advancing treatments and ushering in the next generation of brain tumor researchers.

This year’s slate of research projects investigates the use of biomarkers, imaging, experimental therapeutics, and immunotherapy for adult and pediatric brain tumors.

“These innovative new projects driven by very talented researchers instills great hope that better treatment options are within reach,” said Nicole Willmarth, PhD, chief mission officer, ABTA.

Willmarth says the ABTA can invest in critical research thanks to generous support from donors and partners including Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation, Uncle Kory Foundation and its newest partner, BrainUp.

“Persistence and funding are key to accelerating brain tumor research. Brain tumor research has been severely underfunded by the U.S. government, impeding progress to combat a ruthless and often deadly disease. I’m proud of the ABTA’s tireless commitment to its mission of funding research that will one day lead to cures,” Willmarth said.

The ABTA congratulates the 2021 grant recipients listed below. To learn more about the grant recipients and their research projects, visit

Discovery Grants are one-year, $50,000 grants supporting cutting-edge, innovative approaches that hold potential to change current diagnostic or treatment standards of care for either adult or pediatric brain tumors.

  • Terrance Burns, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota
  • Paul Castillo, MD, University of Florida
  • Wajd Al-Holou, MD, The University of Michigan
  • Jian Hu, PhD, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Texas
  • Markus Siegelin, MD, Columbia University, New York
  • Eric Thompson, MD, Duke University, North Carolina
  • Lee Wong, PhD, Monash University, Australia
  • Gelareh Zadeh, MD, PhD, University Health Network, Canada

 Medical Student Summer Fellowships are three-month, $3,000 grants awarded to medical students to conduct brain tumor research projects under the guidance of neuro-oncology experts. Through these grants, the ABTA seeks to encourage physician-scientists to enter and remain in the brain tumor field.

  • Jessica Chen, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Nicholas Cho, BS, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Mihai Dumbrava, BMSc, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota
  • Michael Meadow, BS, University of Rochester, New York
  • Yusuf Mehkri, BS, University of Florida
  • Rohan Rao, BS, University of Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Paul Rowley, BS, University of California, San Francisco
  • Kaitlin Stitz, The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
  • Jovanna Tracz, BS, Eastern Virginia Medical School

The ABTA is now accepting applications for its 2022 Discovery Grants, Basic Research Fellowships, and Jack and Fay Netchin Medical Student Summer Fellowships. For more information on grant opportunities and deadlines, visit