NCCN Foundation Announces Fifth 2017 Young Investigator Award

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THE NCCN Foundation has granted its fifth Young Investigator Award for the 2017 cycle to Liqin Zhu, PhD, of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/ University of Tennessee Health Science Center, for the study titled, “Patient-Derived Tumor Spheroids for High-Risk Hepatoblastoma Drug Discovery.” 

Liqin Zhu, PhD

Liqin Zhu, PhD

Dr. Zhu joins four additional awardees named earlier this year, representing the seventh series of NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards—a program initiated in 2011. The grants provide researchers at National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN®) Member Institutions with funding over a 2-year period to each awardee. 

“The NCCN Foundation is happy to provide funding to Dr. Zhu for study of this rare childhood liver cancer. Identification of biologic characteristics of high-risk hepatoblastoma indeed has the potential to aid in discovery of new treatment interventions for this understudied disease,” said Marcie R. Reeder, MPH, Executive Director, NCCN Foundation. “We congratulate Dr. Zhu on her nomination and award and look forward to her contributions to the Young Investigator Award program.” 

Full List of 2017 Awardees 

  • Kemi Doll, MD, MSCR, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance: “Racial Disparities in Endometrial Cancer”
  • Saad Kenderian, MB, CHB, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center: “Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Mechanisms of Resistance and Strategies to Enhance Efficacy”
  • Florian Muller, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: “ENO1 Deletion as a Target for Personalized Oncology: Collateral Lethality to the Clinic”
  • Elizabeth Stewart, MD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Health Science Center: “Preclinical Match”
  • Liqin Zhu, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Health Science Center: “Patient-Derived Tumor Spheroids for High-Risk Hepatoblastoma Drug Discovery” 

The awardees responded to a Request for Proposals issued by the NCCN Foundation to the NCCN Member Institutions and were nominated by their institutions. All submissions were reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel of oncology experts; the awardees were selected based on several key components, including scientific merit and study design. The studies will be managed and overseen by the NCCN Oncology Research Program. 

The 2017 awardees will have the opportunity to present their findings during a future NCCN Annual Conference General Poster Session, and their abstracts will be featured in JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 

For more information about the NCCN Young Investigator Awards, visit ■




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