The American Brain Tumor Association Awards Research Grants to Support Early Career Investigators and High-Impact, Collaborative Brain Tumor Research

CHICAGO, July 17, 2018 – The American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), the nation’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to brain tumor education and research, announced today the funding of 19 new research grants at 14 different institutions.

The ABTA’s Research Program supports both established and new scientists in discovering more about the causes, effects, diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors.

“It is our goal to continue funding research that brings bright, young, talented investigators into the field,” said Ralph DeVitto, ABTA President & CEO. “It’s important to keep attracting the best talent and the best way to do this is to fund them early in their careers.”

Of the grantees awarded this year, the ABTA is supporting 16 early-career scientists (three early-career faculty, five postdoctoral fellows and eight medical students) who are bringing innovative ideas to the field.

“We are excited to continue our legacy of funding critical brain tumor research,” said ABTA Chief Science Officer Nicole Willmarth, PhD. “Our new grant recipients are focusing on important and innovative research areas. We are hopeful that these new projects will continue to propel our understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors and will have a large impact on the field for many years to come.”

This year’s projects cover seven different types of brain tumors and explore key areas of interest in the field:

  • Seven grants aim to improve immunotherapy for brain tumors; including three grants that are trying to better understand the role of the immune system in and around tumors and three grants that are developing new approaches to try to increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy in brain tumors.
  • Five grants are examining how brain tumors communicate with their surroundings and other cells around them in order to survive and grow. Research in this area will help inform how to stop brain tumors from progressing.
  • Four grants are examining potential new approaches to therapy for brain tumors.

“This latest round of research projects is one of the most exciting that I have seen in my time as a board member at ABTA,” said Brian Olson, Chairman of the Board. “With all of these latest innovations, I am excited to see us put funding towards important areas that have the potential to impact the lives of so many brain tumor patients.”

To see the 2018 grantees and projects, visit

Research Collaboration Grants are two-year grants supporting multiple investigators, undertaking multi-disciplinary research projects in the brain tumor field. Recipients of this grant demonstrate innovative approaches to their research that involve scientific collaboration as a critical component.

Discovery Grants are prestigious one-year grants supporting cutting-edge, innovative approaches that have the potential to change current diagnostic or treatment paradigms for either adult or pediatric brain tumors.

Basic Research Fellowships are two-year grants awarded to postdoctoral fellows who are mentored by world-class scientists from renowned institutions. This mentorship provides the scientific management and other guidance necessary to foster career development.

Medical Student Summer Fellowships are awarded to medical students who wish to spend a summer conducting brain tumor research projects under the guidance of esteemed scientist mentors. Through these grants, the ABTA seeks to encourage motivated physician-scientists to enter and remain in the brain tumor field.

Celebrating 45 years of impact on the brain tumor community, the American Brain Tumor Association was the first national patient advocacy organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing support and education programs for patients, caregivers and their loved ones. For more information, visit or call 800-886-ABTA (2282).