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American Brain Tumor Association Invests $1.1 Million Across 18 Research Projects to Accelerate Brain Tumor Research for Adults and Children

As the nation’s first nonprofit organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing education and information on all tumor types, the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) today announced its investment of $1.1 million towards 18 new research grants to foster innovation in brain tumor diagnosis and treatment for adults and children.

With minimal government funding for brain tumor research, the ABTA’s grant program plays an integral role in advancing the understanding and treatment of brain tumors. Dedicated to investing in early-career researchers who have fresh ideas with the potential to impact the future of brain tumor science and treatment, the ABTA provides research grants to medical students, post-doctoral fellows, and early-career faculty.

“With more than $32 million invested to date, the ABTA is committed to funding the research that will one day lead to cures,” said Nicole Willmarth, Ph.D., Chief Mission Officer, American Brain Tumor Association. “Neuro-oncology is not an easy field to study and comes with innumerable challenges. And yet, each year I become reenergized by the potential of the remarkable work these scientists are pursuing.”

This year’s slate of research investigates critical areas in neuro-oncology, including immune cells and the non-cancerous tissue that surrounds brain tumors to understand the impact these factors have on tumor progression. Other research focuses on the discovery of new treatments, understanding the resistance to treatments and the signals that stimulate tumors to develop and grow.

The ABTA congratulates the 2019 grant recipients listed below. To learn more about the grant recipients and their research projects, visit abta.org/research.

ABTA Research Collaboration Grants are two-year, $200,000 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.

  • Justin Lathia, Ph.D., Cleveland Clinic, in collaboration with Joshua Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis

Basic Research Fellowships are two-year, $100,000 grants awarded to post-doctoral fellows who are mentored by established and nationally-recognized experts in the neuro-science field.

  • Javier Ganz, Ph.D., Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Maria Garcia Fabiani, Ph.D., University of Michigan
  • Albert Kim, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Thi Thu Trang Nguyen, Ph.D., Columbia University
  • Jan Remsik, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Anh Tran, Ph.D., Northwestern University

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

  • Yiping He, Ph.D., Duke University Medical Center
  • Wen Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Christine O’Connor, Ph.D., Cleveland Clinic
  • Min Tang-Schomer, Ph.D., The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine
  • Lee Wong, Ph.D., Monash University
  • Zeng-jie Yang, M.D., Ph.D., The Research Institute of Fox Chase Cancer Center

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

  • Nyle Almeida, B.S., University of California, San Francisco
  • Sakibul Huq, B.S., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Rushikesh Joshi, B.S., University of California, San Francisco
  • Shoeb Lallani, B.S., The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Melanie Schweitzer, B.S., New York Institute of Technology


Founded in 1973, 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 abta.org or call 800-886-ABTA (2282).