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Mayo Clinic's best and brightest win funding fellowships from Eagles Cancer Telethon

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Rebecca Boddicker, Ph.D. Rebecca Boddicker, Ph.D.
Yuichi Machida, Ph.D. Yuichi Machida, Ph.D.
Kenneth Merrell, M.D. Kenneth Merrell, M.D.
Rachael Vaubel, M.D., Ph.D. Rachael Vaubel, M.D., Ph.D.
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

The 2018 Eagles Cancer Telethon on KTTC raised more than $1,000,000 for the third straight year to fund cutting edge cancer research. 

On Monday night at Mayo Clinic's Siebens Building, a dozen researchers from all three of Mayo's sites in the U.S. were announced as winners of fellowships from the telethon to fund their work in the coming year.

The grant winners were among 51 who applied for the funding, said Dr. Robert Diasio, the Director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.  Many of the winners stood to the applause of a large crowd attending the 5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon Recognition Dinner.

The research grant winners and their focus from Mayo Clinic, Rochester include:

  • Rebecca Boddicker, Ph.D. -- Characterizing Chromatin Accessibility in Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma
  • Jason Doles, Ph.D. -- Skeletal Muscle Regeneration & Muscle Wasting Disorder in Cancer Patients
  • Nicholas Larson, Ph.D. -- Role of microRNA Dysregulation in the Genetic Risk of Prostate Cancer
  • Yuichi Machida, Ph.D. -- Improving PARP Inhibitor Studies in Ovarian Cancer
  • Kenneth Merrell, M.D. -- Evaluating Value of KRAS Mutation by cell free DNA
  • Alexander Meves, M.D. -- Precision Medicine by Targeting Cell Adhesion in Melanoma
  • Rachael Vaubel, M.D. Ph.D -- Development of Novel Patient-Derived Models of Meningioma
  • Jesus Vera Aguilera, M.C.  -- Overcoming Immunotherapy Resistance
  • Rentian Wu, Ph.D. -- Targeting GATA1 Actuated Enhancer to Overcome Chemo Resistance in Colorectal Cancer

Two researchers from Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville received funding:

  • Anna Carrano, Ph.D. -- Role of Osteopontin-CD44 Axis
  • Emmanuel Gabriel, M.D., Ph.D. -- Dynamic Control of Tumor Vasculature

And from Mayo's Scottsdale, Arizona campus, Dr. Nandita Khera, M.D., M.P.H. was awarded a grant to study the management of the financial burden on cancer patients, and how different factors impact the wellbeing of the patient.

One of last year's fellowship grant winners, Nagarajan (Raj) Kannan, Ph.D., reviewed his work for the crowd in a a new area emerging in breast cancer research--targeted prevention.  About the Eagles Cancer Telethon funding, Dr. Kannan simply said "it made a big difference at the right time."  Telethon funds are frequently used to fund promising research that might not be far enough along in the mainstream to win more traditional grant money, and thus the funding can result in some of the most impressive research breakthroughs.

"What you do impacts so many people, makes a difference in so many lives," said telethon executive Teresa Chapman to all those gathered. "Thank you for all you do."

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