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The Wistar Institute Secures More Than $4.2M in Philanthropic Support

PHILADELPHIA — (July 3, 2019) —The Wistar Institute, an international leader in biomedical research on cancer, immunology and infectious disease, has received more than $4.2 million in non-federal funding awarded by private foundations.

  • Rugang Zhang, Ph.D., deputy director of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center and professor & co-leader of the Gene Expression & Regulation Program, is the principal investigator on a three-year collaborative research development grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. This grant totaling $900,000 will support in-depth research on the molecular mechanism of some key epigenetic regulators in ovarian cancer to identify potential targets for novel therapeutic strategies.
  • Alessandro Gardini, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Gene Expression & Regulation Program, was awarded a three-year, $825,000 grant from the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation in support of his research to identify new factors and mechanisms that regulate maturation of stem cells into blood and immune cells. Gardini also received an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award for $792,000 over four years to study the role of the ARID1A protein in ovarian cancer.
  • Zachary Schug, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Molecular & Cellular Oncogenesis Program, received a Susan G. Komen Career Catalyst Award that will support his research for three years with $450,000. In addition, Schug was awarded a $110,000 grant from the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust. Both of these awards will support his work on tumor cell metabolism to expose new vulnerabilities that could be therapeutically targeted as more effective treatment options for patients with breast cancer, melanoma and acute myeloid leukemia.
  • David B. Weiner, Ph.D., Wistar executive vice president, director of the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, and the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Professor in Cancer Research at The Wistar Institute, was the recipient of a subaward from a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded to Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. This funding will provide support for a total of $414,000 to apply the DMAb technology developed at Wistar to develop an immunotherapeutic strategy against influenza.
  • Makan Khoshnejad, Ph.D., staff scientist in the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center at Wistar, received a $231,000 grant over three years from the American Heart Association to fund research on a novel type of lipid-lowering therapeutics based on synthetic DNA technology developed at Wistar.
  • Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Immunology, Microenvironment & Metastasis Program, was granted a two-year award totaling $200,000 from the V Foundation for Cancer Research in support of a research project to develop methods for the visualization of interactions between tumor cells and brain cells during brain metastasis.
  • Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, was awarded a $130,000 grant over two years from amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, to identify new biomarkers that can help predict the time in which HIV rebounds after treatment interruption.
  • Daniel Kulp, Ph.D., associate professor in the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, received a $110,000 grant from the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust to advance a structure-based HIV vaccine strategy.
  • Shuai Wu, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Zhang laboratory was awarded a $75,000 grant from the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance to develop a new therapeutic strategy based on combination of two targeted inhibitors for ovarian cancer with mutations in the ARID1A gene.
  • The Institute received a $20,000 grant from the Fred J. Brotherton Charitable Foundation in support of Wistar’s Biomedical Technician Training Program that prepares college students to become research assistants in the biomedical field.

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