2023 Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Career Development Awardees Announced
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WOODBURY, NY – At the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2023, The Lustgarten Foundation and the AACR presented the Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Career Development Awards for Pancreatic Cancer Research, in Honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Robert Lewis to Christina M. Ferrer, PhD, from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, and Ashley Kiemen, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
Lustgarten and the AACR aim to reduce the gap in funding received by early-career women and underrepresented minority scientists who conduct research that could contribute to a better understanding and treatment of pancreatic cancer by awarding each recipient with a three-year, $300,000 grant for meritorious basic, translational, clinical, or population sciences research.
“These awards not only provide encouragement and support to early-career scientists who are dedicated to advancing our understanding of pancreatic cancer but also play a vital role in promoting gender equality and racial diversity within our research community,” said Andrew Rakeman, Lustgarten Foundation Vice President of Research.
This year, more than 64,000 American lives will be lost to pancreatic cancer—now the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths with a five-year relative survival rate of 12 percent.
The Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Career Development Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research, in Honor of John Robert Lewis, represents a joint effort to encourage and support early-career scientists engaged in pancreatic cancer research who are members of racial or ethnic groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in the cancer-related sciences workforce. The Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Career Development Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research, in Honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, represents a joint effort to support the career advancement of a female scientist engaged in pancreatic cancer research.
“Pancreatic cancer is a uniquely challenging disease, requiring bold and innovative science,” said Linda Tantawi, CEO of the Lustgarten Foundation. “We know these challenges are even greater for Black and African Americans, who experience both higher incidence and death rates than other populations. What we don’t know is why. Congressman John Lewis was a bold and innovative leader who never backed away from a challenge, including pancreatic cancer. Honoring his legacy through this grant is a step toward both a deeper understanding of pancreatic cancer among Black and African Americans and closing the gap of diversity within the research community.
“Similarly, we honor Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s tireless fight for equality by supporting women researchers within the pancreatic cancer field. Their work will not only reverberate across the pancreatic cancer community of patients, physicians, and researchers; but they also will serve as the necessary role models and mentors to attract even more women into the field.”
Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Career Development Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research, in Honor of John Robert Lewis recipient, Christina M. Ferrer, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Pharmacology Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her project is titled “Metastasis-Initiating Cells in Pancreatic Cancer.”
Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Career Development Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research, in Honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg recipient, Ashley Kieman, PhD, is an assistant professor in the computational division of the Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology. Her project is titled “3D Morphological Analysis of Human Pancreatic Cancer Liver Metastases.”
Learn more about the Lustgarten Foundation-AACR Career Development Awards for Pancreatic Cancer Research, in Honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Robert Lewis here.