The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research funds eight high-risk, high-reward projects

Announcing the inaugural cohort of The Mark Foundation’s Emerging Leader Awards

NEW YORK, NY — The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research has awarded eight grants to promising early career scientists for projects aimed at addressing substantially unmet needs in cancer risk prediction, prevention, detection, and treatment. The Mark Foundation’s Emerging Leader Awards accelerate innovation by supporting potentially transformative yet high-risk scientific ideas that fall outside typical funding paradigms.

The current awardees are pursuing diverse aims in areas of basic, translational, and early clinical cancer research such as engineering the immune system in the human body to fight cancer; tackling glioblastoma multiforme, one of the deadliest cancers; targeting gene transcription in cancer; and predicting cancer susceptibility.

The recipients of The Mark Foundation’s inaugural Emerging Leader Awards are:

  • Hannah K. Carter, PhD, University of California San Diego School of Medicine
    “Enabling MHC Genotype-Informed Risk Prediction, Cancer Prevention and Precision Immunotherapy”

  • Yvonne Y. Chen, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
    “Engineering TGF-β-resistant, Tri-Specific T-cell Therapy for Glioblastoma Multiforme”

  • Eric S. Fischer, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Rational Approach to Targeting Transcription Factors with Small Molecule Degraders”

  • Saar I. Gill, MD, PhD, The Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania
    “Optimizing Adoptive Cell Therapy for All Patients: Towards In Vivo CAR T-Cell Manufacturing”

  • Cigall Kadoch, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Defining Transcription Factor-Chromatin-Remodeling Complex Interactions in Cancer: New Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities”

  • Andrew A. Lane, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Origins and Therapeutic Vulnerabilities of Sex Bias in Cancer”

  • Peter A. Sims, PhD, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
    “New Opportunities for Modeling Drug Response in Solid Tumors Afforded by Single-Cell Genomics”

  • Matthias Stephan, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    “Preventing Cancer Vaccine Failure via Nanoparticle-Mediated T-Cell Receptor Programming”

The Mark Foundation is especially pleased to announce that Dr. Hannah K. Carter of the University of California, San Diego has been named recipient of the Jaime Wyatt Miller Fellowship, which is partially supported through the generosity of the friends and family of Jaime Wyatt Miller, a 42-year-old wife and mother who succumbed to breast cancer in May 2018.

“We are excited to fund the groundbreaking work these Emerging Leaders are pursuing,” said Michele Cleary, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of The Mark Foundation. “These exceptionally talented scientists demonstrate visionary thinking that aligns perfectly with The Mark Foundation’s goal of overcoming the most difficult challenges in cancer research.”

Awardees were determined through a competitive process led by The Mark Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee chaired by Ross L. Levine, MD at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Other members of the Scientific Advisory Committee include Scott A. Armstrong, MD, PhD of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Curt I. Civin, MD of the University of Maryland School of Medicine; Elaine R. Mardis, PhD of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Institute for Genomic Medicine; Jeroen Roose, PhD of the University of California, San Francisco; Victor E. Velculescu, MD, PhD of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; and E. John Wherry, PhD of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

For additional information on The Mark Foundation’s Emerging Leader Awards, visit


About The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research is dedicated to accelerating cures for cancer by integrating discoveries in biology with innovative technology. Launched in 2017, The Mark Foundation pursues its mission by funding a global portfolio of groundbreaking research carried out by individual investigators, multi-investigator teams, and inter-institutional collaborations.

Recognizing the obstacles that can prevent scientific advances from improving patient outcomes, The Mark Foundation maintains a nimble, high-impact approach to funding research that encompasses grants for basic and translational cancer research, as well as venture philanthropy investment in companies that bridge the gap between the bench and the bedside.

To learn more about the work of The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, visit:

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