Young Investigator Awards

MRA Young Investigator Awards aim to attract early career scientists with novel ideas into melanoma research, thereby recruiting and supporting the next generation of melanoma researchers. Young Investigators are scientists within four years of their first academic faculty appointment. A mentorship commitment from a senior investigator is required.

Loss of CD226 In T Cells Drives Resistance to Melanoma Immunotherapy

Aims to understand CD226 signaling and function in immune cells to improve
melanoma immunotherapy.

Bristol Myers Squibb – MRA Young Investigator Award

Tobias Bald, PhD, University of Bonn

Identification of Druggable Transcriptional Drivers in Melanoma

Will develop chemical tools to target two key drivers responsible for melanoma growth and identify new mechanisms to inhibit melanoma growth.

MRA Young Investigator Award, Collaboratively Funded by Massachusetts General Hospital

Liron Bar-Peled, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital

Understanding Immunotherapy-Tolerant Melanoma Persister Cells

Will characterize immunotherapy-tolerant persister cells, identify their therapeutically targetable vulnerabilities, and evaluate the findings in preclinical models.

Bristol Myers Squibb – MRA Young Investigator Award

Matthew Hangauer, PhD, University of California San Diego

Activating dsRNA Sensing in Melanoma to Overcome
Immunotherapy Resistance

Aims to define the mechanism by which targeting the ADAR1 molecule overcomes resistance to immunotherapy and to identify the patients that will benefit from this new approach.

Bristol Myers Squibb – MRA Young Investigator Award

Jeffrey Ishizuka, MD, PhD, Yale University

Targeting Interactions Between Melanoma Metabolism and Radiation Therapy

Aims to understand the fundamental response of melanoma metabolism to radiation therapy, and will combine drug therapy and radiation therapy with the goal of improving radiation response.

MRA Young Investigator Award, Collaboratively Funded by Emory University

Aparna Kesarwala, MD, PhD, Emory University

Examining the Role of Blebs in Melanoma Metastasis

Aims to understand the molecular mechanisms used in melanoma cells undergoing fast amoeboid migration, with the goal to provide new therapeutics for metastatic melanoma.

MRA Young Investigator Award in Memory of Leon Sapsuzian, Jr.

Jeremy Logue, PhD, Albany Medical College

Microenvironmental Regulators of Melanoma Brain Metastases

Will investigate the contribution of microenvironmental regulators to melanoma brain metastasis progression and response to immunocheckpoint inhibitors.

The Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder – MRA Young Investigator Award

Berta Lopez Sanchez-Laorden, PhD, Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche

Targeting 1-Carbon Metabolism in Melanoma Brain Metastases:

Identifying the metabolic adaptations that cancer cells need to survive and proliferate in the brain, and develop therapeutics to target these metabolic vulnerabilities.

Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation – MRA Young Investigator Award

Michael Pacold, MD, PhD, New York University

Ablative Radiotherapy as Consolidation for Oligoprogressive Melanoma

Aims to understand the variability between multiple sites of melanoma in individual people and the extent to which radiation targeted to one area of cancer can affect other areas of cancer in the body that are not being targeted with radiation.

ASTRO-MRA Young Investigator Award in Radiation Oncology

Reid Thompson, MD, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University

The Impact of Tumor Progression Trajectory on Immunotherapy Treatment

Aims to build a better prediction model for melanoma immunotherapy and to improve treatment regimens.

Michael and Jacqueline Ferro Family Foundation – MRA Young Investigator Award

Lixing Yang, PhD, The University of Chicago