Current Grants

The Lung Cancer Research Foundation's grant program provides critical seed support for cutting-edge scientific research on all cancers of the lung. This type of support builds proof of concept for researchers to apply for additional grant funding from universities and public sources. To learn more about this year's grant recipients, please scroll down.

2013 Scientific Merit Award

Faye Johnson, MD, PhD

  University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Principal Investigator:

Faye Johnson, MD, PhD

Research project:

Mechanisms that Regulate Therapeutic Response to Polo-like Kinase Inhibitors in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Dr. Johnson’s study aims to explore the mechanism leading to Plk substrate re-activation and increased total Plk following sustained Plk kinase inhibition; identify biomarkers predictive of sensitivity to Plk inhibitors; and determine the frequency of Plk sensitivity biomarker expression in NSCLC patients.

2013 Grant Recipients

During the 2012 grants cycle, LCRF received 63 submissions from leading cancer centers around the world. As a result of the LCRF Medical Advisory Peer Review, 20 new grants totaling $1,000,000 have been awarded to the following institutions supporting the research work of the principal investigator listed.

During the 2013 grants cycle, LCRF received 65 submissions from leading cancer centers around the world. Sixteen grants totaling $800,000 were awarded to the following investigators.


Levi J. Beverly, PhD

University of Louisville

Principal Investigator:

Levi J. Beverly, PhD

Research project: 

Identification of a New Protein Family that Regulates Lung Cancer Initiation.

Dr. Beverly’s study aims to determine the mechanism by which UBQLN loss alters MYC signaling and proliferation of lung epithelial cells; assess how cancer-relevant somatic mutations alter the activity of UBQLN proteins; and demonstrate a role for loss of UBQLN in the initiation of non-small cell lung cancer.


Heidi Greulich, PhD

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator: 

Heidi Greulich, PhD

Research project:

Leveraging ERBB2 Mutations for Lung Cancer Treatment.

Dr. Greulich’s research identifies inhibitor combinations that effectively inhibit survival of tumor cell lines harboring ERBB2 mutations.


Faye Johnson, MD, PhD

University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Principal Investigator: 

Faye Johnson, MD, PhD

Research project: 

Mechanisms that Regulate Therapeutic Response to Polo-like Kinase Inhibitors in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Learn more about Dr. Johnson’s research.

Dr. Johnson’s study aims to explore the mechanism leading to Plk substrate re-activation and increased total Plk following sustained Plk kinase inhibition; identify biomarkers predictive of sensitivity to Plk inhibitors; and determine the frequency of Plk sensitivity biomarker expression in NSCLC patients.


Carla Kim, PhD

Boston Children’s Hospital

Principal Investigator: 

Carla Kim, PhD

Research project: 

Targeting EZH2 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Dr. Kim’s research seeks to determine the contexts in which the modulation of the Polycomb protein EZH2 will be a potential therapeutic strategy for lung cancer.


Jonathan Kurie, MD

University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Principal Investigator: 

Jonathan Kurie, MD

Research project: 

LH2-driven Collagen Cross-linking as a Novel Mediator of Lung Cancer Metastasis.

Description:

Dr. Kurie’s study aims to determine whether LH2 loss-of-function in tumor cells alters collagen post-translational modifications, collagen cross-linking, ECM stiffening, invasion, and metastasis.


Katja A. Lamia, PhD

The Scripps Research Institute

Principal Investigator: 

Katja A. Lamia, PhD

Research project: 

Determining the Role of Cryptochromes During Lung Carcinogenesis.

Dr. Lamia’s study seeks to determine the role of circadian transcriptional repressors CRY1 and/or CRY2 in cellular proliferation and transformation in NSCLC models. The study also aims to establish the role of Cry1 and/or Cry2 in DNA damage response (DDR); identify target genes regulated by Cry1 and/or Cry2 that may explain the observed effects on proliferation, transformation, and DDR; and determine whether Cry2-dependent modulation of DNA-PKcs contributes to the observed effects on proliferation, transformation, and DNA damage response (DDR) in Cry2-/- cells.


William Lee, PhD

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Principal Investigator: 

William Lee, PhD

Research project: 

Identifying Genetic Differences Between Smoking-Related and Non-Smoking-Related Lung Cancer.

Dr. Lee’s study analyzes somatic and germ line variants in the various subgroups of patients to identify genes associated with mutation patterns and patients’ susceptibility to genomic damage from smoke exposure.


Stephen M. Lewis, PhD

Atlantic Cancer Research Institute

Principal Investigator: 

Stephen M. Lewis, PhD

Research project: 

Exploration of the Mechanism by which eIF3e Controls Epithelial-tomesenchymal Transition in Lung Cancer.

Dr. Lewis’s research will continue to investigate how decreased eIF3e expression leads to EMT, perhaps via regulation of TGF-expression in lung cancer cells, which will provide a better understanding of how the EMT process (and thus cancer metastasis) is controlled.


Matthew J. Niederst, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

Principal Investigator: 

Matthew J. Niederst, PhD

Research project: 

Developing Therapeutic Strategies to Overcome NSCLC to SCLC Transformation as a Resistance Mechanism in Lung Cancer.

Dr. Niederst’s study will build upon findings from the previous year to better understand how NSCLC and SCLC overcome EGFR inhibition and develop a strategy to treat the resistant tumors.


Thales Papagiannakopoulos, PhD

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Principal Investigator: 

Thales Papagiannakopoulos, PhD

Research project: 

Elucidating the Role of Circadian Rhythm Disruption in Lung Tumorigenesis.

Dr. Papagiannakopoulos’s study will determine the effect of cell autonomous oncogenic events on circadian clock regulation to understand the relationship between transformation and circadian clock disruption. Furthermore, using a series of well-defined physiologic and genetic experimental approaches in vivo, his
study will disrupt circadian rhythm homeostasis by systemic and conditional genetic
loss-of-function of the core circadian clock components.


Alexei Polishchuk, MD, PhD

University of California, San Francisco

Principal Investigator: 

Alexei Polishchuk, MD, PhD

Research project: 

Quantitative Profiling of Apoptotic Proteolysis in Lung Cancer After Combined Radiotherapy and Targeted EGFR Inhibition.

Dr. Polishchuk’s research aims to expand our understanding of emerging clinical treatments for NSCLC as well as provide insight into potential new drug targets and ways to monitor therapeutic response for patients with this malignancy.


Katerina Politi, PhD

Yale University

Principal Investigator: 

Katerina Politi, PhD

Research project: 

The Influence of Tumor Cell-of-Origin and Heterogeneity on Acquired Resistance to Targeted Therapies in Cancer.

Dr. Politi’s study will provide insight into the reprogramming of lung cancer cells; information on the cell of origin of different lung cancer subtypes; and clues to pharmacological and genetic approaches capable of altering the fate of lung adenocarcinomas and SCLC. More broadly, it will shed light on the evolution of cancers upon treatment with targeted therapies and mechanisms of resistance to these agents.


matt smith profile pic

Moffitt Cancer Center

Principal Investigator: 

Matthew Adams Smith, PhD

Research project: 

Proximity Ligation Assays to Monitor Targetable Signaling in Circulating Tumor Cells in Lung Cancer.

Dr. Smith’s study hopes to establish a minimally invasive approach to interrogating signaling pathways directly from CTC.


Brendon M. Stiles, MD

Weill Cornell Medical College

Principal Investigator: 

Brendon M. Stiles, MD

Research project: 

Identification and Therapeutic Targeting of CD44high/CD24low Tumors in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

The purpose of Dr. Stiles’s proposal is to confirm activation of the IL-6/JAK-STAT in clinical specimens of CD44-high/CD24-low NSCLC tumors; explore treatment paradigms based upon IL-6/JAK inhibition for these tumors; and assess clinical biomarkers for further classification of these tumors.


Ralph R. Weichselbaum, MD

The University of Chicago

Principal Investigator: 

Ralph R. Weichselbaum, MD

Research project: 

Jak2 Inhibitors in the Therapy of Lung Cancer.

Dr. Weichselbaum’s proposal presents a study that intends to profile gene expression in all previously tested cell lines on the basal level.


Kufe Head Shot

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Principal Investigator: 

Donald W. Kufe, MD

Research project: 

Targeting the MUC1-C Oncoprotein with New Agents in Drug Resistant NSCLC.

Dr. Kufe’s research hopes to assess the effects of the MUC1-C/ED-Fc fusion protein in targeting the MUC1-C extracellular domain on the surface of EGFR mutant lung cancer cells. It also aims to investigate effective combinations of MUC1-C inhibitors with other targeted anti-cancer agents for lung cancer treatment.