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ABTA Alumni Research Network - American Brain Tumor Association

ABTA Alumni Research Network

The ABTA Alumni Research Network (AARN) is a network of brain tumor researchers that have been funded by the ABTA. The purpose of the AARN is to support the ABTA’s mission to advance the understanding and treatment of brain tumors by fostering excellence in brain tumor research through professional development, communications, education, training and collaboration.

Engagement with ABTA Community

Members are invited to speak at our events, to speak on behalf of the ABTA through our Speaker’s Bureau, to review ABTA publications, and to serve on review committees for ABTA grant applications.

  • 10 AARN members wrote letters in support of reducing limits on access to tumor treating fields for Medicare patients.
  • Michael Olin, PhD, and Francisco Puerta-Martinez spoke about their research at the ABTA BT5K – Twin Cities in 2019.
  • Craig Horbinski, MD, PhD, participated in the Mock Tumor Board at the 2019 ABTA National Conference.
  • Milan Chheda reviewed the ABTA Brochure on Oligogendrogliomas.
  • Priscilla Brastianos, MD, informed patients and caregivers about Personalized Medicine at the 2019 ABTA National Conference.
  • Kyuson Yun, PhD, Martyn Sharpe, PhD, and Betty Kim, MD, PhD gave tours of their lab to ABTA staff.
  • Erik Sulman, MD, PhD, Co-chaired the ABTA New York Regional Patient and Family Meeting.
  • Josh Neman, PhD, helped with the planning and spoke at the BT5K in Los Angeles

Annual Meeting

The AARN Annual Meeting brings together past and current ABTA-funded researchers over the course of two and a half-days to foster scientific exchange and collaboration to help accelerate brain tumor discoveries.

Member quotes:

“I came out with advice on projects, new collaborations, and immensely useful career advice. Can’t get more valuable than that in only 2 and half days!”

“It is different from other meetings. I felt like everybody is really committed to achieve the final goal of finding a cure for brain tumors.”

“The AARN meeting is one of my favorite conferences. I have made friends, built collaborations, and learned from shared experiences in ways that have helped me and others in the brain tumor field.” 

2020 AARN

Annual Meeting Co-Chairs

Jane Ishmael, PhD
Jane Ishmael, PhD, Associate Professor, Oregon State University
Dohoon Kim, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School

View photos from the 2018 meeting

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Mindee Plugues


Mindee J. Plugues, of Los Angeles, CA, is vice president, marketing for the Applebee’s brand and brings skills including brand strategy, executive leadership, and marketing to the board. Plugues has been an ABTA donor since April 2001, following her father’s passing from GBM. She is also a former member of the ABTA endurance program, Team Breakthrough.

Bob Kruchten


Bob Kruchten, of Mount Prospect, IL, is a sales manager at Extreme Reach, a leading advertising technology company. He has strong skills in communications and fundraising, and has been advocating for the ABTA for 19 years in tribute to his best friend, Paul Fabbri, who lost his 10-year battle with GBM in 1998. Kruchten accepted the ABTA’s Joel A. Gingras Jr. Award in 2015 on behalf of the Paul Fabbri Memorial Fund.