Single cell analysis and perturbation of the tumor-immune ecosystem: Seeks to use cutting-edge, single cell genomic sequencing techniques to identify tumor, tumor microenvironment and immune cell features that correlate with response to PD-1 targeted therapy.
MRA Established Investigator Award,
Ido Amit, Weizmann Institute of Science

DNA-based biomarkers for melanoma diagnosis and prognostication: Aims to identify genetic alterations in melanoma tumors that correlate with patient outcome and develop a candidate algorithm that can distinguish low from high-risk patients.
MRA Established Investigator Award,
Boris Bastian, University of California, San Francisco

Melanocyte stem cells and their progression to malignancy and metastasis: Will use genomics techniques to better characterize melanocyte stem cells, a type of skin cell, and their role in melanoma development and progression.
MRA Established Investigator Award,
Elaine Fuchs, The Rockefeller University

Molecular mechanism of UV-induced mutagenesis in melanoma: Seeks to determine how skin cells repair their DNA in response to ultraviolet light exposure and how this in turn affects melanoma development.
MRA Established Investigator Award,
Chengyu Liang, University of Southern California

Identification of active drugs for NF1-mutant, BRAF/NRAS-wildtype melanoma: Aims to better understand the underlying biology of and discover new treatments for melanomas that harbor mutations in the gene NF1.
Leveraged Finance Fights Melanoma-MRA Established Investigator Award,
A. Thomas Look, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Granzyme B imaging to predict efficacy of immunotherapy in melanoma: Will use PET imaging to visualize T cells directly killing tumor cells, which has potential to act as a biomarker of immunotherapy efficacy.
MRA Established Investigator Award,
Umar Mahmood, Massachusetts General Hospital

Development of YAP inhibitors to modulate regulatory T cell in melanoma: Plans to slow melanoma growth by targeting YAP proteins in regulatory T cells, a type of immunosuppressive white blood cell.
MRA Established Investigator Award,
Fan Pan, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Non-invasive imaging of the anti-melanoma immune response: Aims to employ positron-emission tomography imaging in combination with camel-derived small antibody fragments to track anti-tumor immune responses induced by checkpoint inhibitors.
Leveraged Finance Fights Melanoma-MRA Established Investigator Award,
Hidde Ploegh, Children’s Hospital Boston

Advancing SBI-756, a translation initiation inhibitor, for melanoma therapy: Will further characterize the mechanism of action and therapeutic potential of a drug candidate that targets the molecular machinery responsible for generating proteins inside melanoma cells.
Sokoloff Family-MRA Established Investigator Award,
Ze’ev Ronai, Technion Israel Institute of Technology

Cell of origin as a driver of heterogeneity in melanoma: Aims to better understand how the cell of origin for a tumor may contribute to different disease characteristics and outcomes in melanoma.
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation-MRA Established Investigator Award,
Lorenz Studer, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Multiplex biomarkers for response to PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint blockade: Combines comprehensive genomic and protein expression analysis to identify biomarkers that predict anti-PD-1 responders and non-responders.
Leveraged Finance Fights Melanoma-MRA Established Investigator Award,
Janis Taube, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Single-cell biomarkers for engineering T cell function and metabolism: Seeks to understand how the tissue environment surrounding a tumor influences how T cells acquire and generate energy, and in turn, how this impacts the anti-tumor activities of these T cells.
MRA Established Investigator Award,
Navin Varadarajan, University of Houston

Targeting TEAD autopalmitoylation in YAP-dependent uveal melanoma: Will investigate an aberrant molecular mechanism in uveal melanoma cells (uveal is melanoma of the eye, involving the iris, ciliary body, or choroid) to identify potential new drug targets.
The Samuel Ming-Sum Fisher Memorial Award-MRA Established Investigator Award,
Xu Wu, Massachusetts General Hospital

Development of novel anti-checkpoint strategies based on nanobodies: Will evaluate novel immune checkpoint drugs with a strong potential for direct translation from bench to bedside.
MRA Young Investigator Award,
Karine Breckpot, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Phase I/II study of intratumoral CD40 agonistic monoclonal antibody APX005M in combination with systemic Pembrolizumab in patients with Metastatic Melanoma: Will analyze the immune responses seen in patients enrolled in a trial of an approved anti-PD-1 therapy in combination with an antibody that stimulates a strong inflammatory response in tumors.
Conquer Cancer Foundation-MRA Career Development Award,
Adi Diab, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Biomarker-based application of anti-apoptotic inhibitors in melanoma: Aims to determine the ability of a novel technology to predict responses to BRAF inhibitors in the clinic and evaluate a new strategy to enhance cell death responses to BRAF/MEK inhibitors in pre-clinical models.
MRA Young Investigator Award,
Rizwan Haq, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Overcome resistance to PD-1 blockade by adding oncolytic virus TVEC: Will analyze cellular and genomic changes in tumor biopsies from patients that are progressing on anti-PD-1 therapy and are the receiving the oncolytic virus talimogene laherparepvec (TVEC), to better understand the effects of TVEC on the anti-tumor immune response.
MRA Young Investigator Award,
Siwen Hu-Lieskovan, University of California, Los Angeles

Immune evasion mechanisms in MAPKi and anti-PD-1 treated melanoma: Seeks to reverse the immune suppression induced by MAPK inhibitors, with the aim to delay acquired MAPK inhibitor resistance.
MRA Young Investigator Award,
Willy Hugo, University of California, Los Angeles

Effective melanoma immunity by targeting NK cell checkpoints: Aims to determine how the secreted proteins IL-15 and TGF-β impact the ability natural killer cells, a type to white blood cell, to kill metastatic melanoma.
MRA Young Investigator Award,
Nick Huntington, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

The miR-29 circuit in melanoma initiation and progression: Aims to interrogate how small molecules called microRNAs interact with cancer-causing molecular pathways to regulate melanoma development.
MRA Young Investigator Award,
Florian Karreth, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute

A nanoscale technology for real-time tracking of immunotherapy response: Will use biology-inspired engineering to develop nanoparticles that can both deliver an immunotherapy payload and report back on efficacy in real time.
MRA Young Investigator Award,
Ashish Kulkarni, University of Massachusetts Amherst

PKCalpha as a node to overcome intrinsic MEK inhibitor resistance in melanoma: Aims to validate the protein PKCalpha as a promising drug target, particularly for non-BRAF-mutant melanoma.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center-MRA Young Investigator Award,
Lawrence Kwong, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Molecular epidemiology on gender difference in early onset melanoma: Seeks to combine basic science and population study approaches to better understand how melanoma development and biology differs between males and females.
The University of California, Irvine-MRA Young Investigator Award,
Feng Liu-Smith, University of California, Irvine

Epigenetic effectors of responses to immune checkpoint blockade agent: Will investigate how heritable, chemical modifications to the tumor genome affects tumor cell sensitivity to checkpoint inhibitors.
Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation-MRA Young Investigator Award,
Kunal Rai, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

A human T cell genetic screen for melanoma immunotherapy: Aims to use state-of-the-art CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology to identify genetic mutations that lead to immunotherapy resistance in melanoma.
The New York Genome Center-MRA Young Investigator Award,
Neville Sanjana, The New York Genome Center

Down-regulating CTLA4 on effector T cells to improve anti-CTLA4 efficacy: Plans to test a therapeutic strategy to prevent resistance to anti-CTLA4 therapy that is based on selectively reducing the expression of CTLA4 on a specific subset of T cells.
BMS-MRA Young Investigator Award,
Erica Stone, The Wistar Institute

Blocking melanoma brain metastasis by targeting the microenvironment: Seeks to investigate actionable targets that will lead to more efficient design of anticancer treatments for patients with metastatic melanoma to the brain.
BMS-MRA Young Investigator Award,
Manuel Valiente, Fundacion Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas Carlos III

“Smart” nanoparticles for immunotherapeutic targeting of the STING pathway: Plans to engineer an innovative, immune-activating technology to reprogram the tumor microenvironment to support anti-tumor immunity.
Leveraged Finance Fights Melanoma-MRA Young Investigator Award,
John Wilson, Vanderbilt University

An international prospective natural history study in uveal melanoma: Will undertake a natural history study to generate an international registry of overall survival data for uveal melanoma patients.
Immunocore-MRA Team Science Academic Industry Partnership Award,
Industry Partner: Immunocore
Richard Carvajal, Columbia University Medical Center

Next generation inhibitors against wild-type and mutant BRAF dimers: Aims to develop a panel of novel inhibitors that would serve as next generation drug development leads to inhibit BRAF in melanoma.
MRA Pilot Award,
Evripidis Gavathiotis, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

MDSC recruitment as an adaptive resistance mechanism to PD-1 antibody therapy: Seeks to understand the role of myeloid-derived suppressive cells, a type of immunosuppressive white blood cell, in resistance to anti-PD-1 therapy.
MRA Pilot Award,
Brent Hanks, Duke University Medical Center

Targeting Foxp3 and NMD blockade in melanoma to unleash tumor immunity: Plans to test the therapeutic potential of blocking nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, a cellular surveillance pathway that helps to prevent errors in gene expression, in melanoma cells.
MRA Pilot Award,
Fernando Pastor, Foundation for Applied Medical Research

Dissecting the significance of pigment heterogeneity in cutaneous melanoma: Aims to better characterize how pigmenting of skin cells affects melanoma development and progression.
MRA Pilot Award,
Mark Shackleton, Monash University

A novel T cell regulatory receptor as a target for cancer therapy: Seeks to investigate the therapeutic potential of targeting LRIG1, an inhibitory protein expressed by T cells.
MRA Pilot Award,
Li Wang, The Medical College of Wisconsin