News programs
Nov 08

The Young Investigator Award is the CRF's preeminent grant making program and represents the Cancer Research Foundation's commitment to funding promising early-career scientists.   The Young Investigator Awards are intended to address a period in a cancer researcher's career that presents a difficult problem:  most scientists cannot compile an initial data set without funding, but financial support from the majority of funders requires a proposal backed up by primary data and results.  Cancer Research Foundation Young Investigators receive a total of  $75,000 over two years to pursue their own independent hypotheses and create their first data sets.

All five of the scientists chosen as 2017 CRF Young Investigators are pursuing work that has the potential to not only add to the body of our knowledge of cancer, but also to transform the way we predict and treat cancer.  We are pleased to be supporting early career scientists who are pursuing a number of exciting and innovative fields of research.  We have researchers trying to root out how cancer stem cell avoid therapy, asking why immunotherapy is so ineffective in bladder cancer, designing a better molecule to target and deliver treatments, considering how to better define and identify certain genetic mutations and their relationship to cancer development and working on novel ways to create better lab models study how cancer starts.  These researchers are all working in cutting-edge fields,  from genomics and bioinformatics to molecular engineering. 

The Cancer Research Foundation was established more than 60 years ago to find ways to fight and prevent cancer.  Our mission is to raise funds to support early career scientists and new directions in cancer science research with the goal of contributing to Transformational Events in the treatment, prevention and cure for cancer.  We act as  "venture philanthropists," seeking opportunities to support new researchers and novel ideas just at the time when their promising ideas can be starved for capital.  With this strategy we can employ relatively small amounts of funding for cancer science in a highly leveraged way and get outsized returns on our grant "investments."  Our annual Young Investigator Awards are one way the Cancer Research Foundation provides seed capital to aid in tomorrow's big cancer discoveries.

2017 CRF Young Investigators

Jonathan C. Barnes, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry

Washington University in St. Louis

A Novel Supramcromolecular Approach to Non-toxic Combination Anti-cancer Therapeutics

Alexander T. Pearson, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

University of Chicago

Live Cell Imaging of Head and Neck Cancer Stemness and Quiescence

David H. Spencer, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Medical Director - McDonnell Genome Institute

Washington University in St. Louis

Modeling Cancer Epigenetic States Using Patient-derived Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Randy F. Sweis, MD

Instructor, Department of Medicine

University of Chicago

Innate Immune Activation to Mediate Tumor Control in Bladder Cancer

Lixing Yang, PhD

Assistant Professor, Ben May Department of Cancer Research

University of Chicago

Copy Neutral Loss of Heterozygosity in Human Cancer Genomes