MOCA is a national leader in ovarian cancer research funding. Because of you.


MOCA. A leader in ovarian cancer research funding. Because of you.

MOCA is a national leader among private, non-profit organizations.

MOCA has awarded more than $9.8 million in grants to professional researchers investigating various aspects of ovarian, fallopian and primary peritoneal cancer.

Every dollar directed to research means we’re getting closer to an early detection test, better treatments and, one day, a cure for ovarian cancer.

MOCA’s Research Funding

Since MOCA started funding research in 2001, MOCA has provided funding to more than 100 grants focused on ovarian cancer. We fund innovative research projects – based in Minnesota – that will help develop better treatments, an early detection test and a cure for ovarian cancer.

In an effort to continue our push for an early detection test for ovarian cancer, in 2017 MOCA launched our National Early Detection Research Awards. Each year, we provide funding to researchers outside Minnesota who are committed to the work of developing an early detection test for ovarian cancer.

Each year, a panel of national expert reviewers help advise MOCA on the scientific merit and national significance of each research proposal. A group of consumer advocates, made up of survivors and caregivers, also review our grants to ensure we are funding research that is most likely to have the biggest impact on our community.

If you would like to learn more about MOCA’s research funding efforts, contact MOCA Executive Director Kathleen Gavin at

Hear from our researchers

MOCA’s research funding is vital to getting these promising projects off the ground. Hear it from the researchers themselves.

Bruce Walcheck, Ph.D.
Bruce Walcheck, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota
Bruce Walcheck, Ph.D.
“Research is absolutely necessary for better diagnostics and treatments for ovarian cancer. MOCA uses a rigorous process to determine the research it is going to invest in. We’ll use our funding to help accomplish the mission.”
Martina Bazzaro, Ph.D.
Martina Bazzaro, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota
Martina Bazzaro, Ph.D.
“The research funding from MOCA gives me the freedom to test new ideas that are outside the box – with the goal of truly making a difference for women with ovarian cancer.”
Viji Shridhar, Ph.D.
Viji Shridhar, Ph.D.
Mayo Clinic
Viji Shridhar, Ph.D.
“The grants from MOCA have served as a platform to generate critical preliminary data that I’ve leveraged into federal grants from the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense”
Kevin Elias, M.D.
Kevin Elias, M.D.
Harvard Medical School
Kevin Elias, MD
“Ovarian cancer research is driven by advocacy and philanthropy much more than federal funding. Without the support of advocates, this work would not happen. Your work keeps me going!”

2021 MOCA-FUNDED Research

MOCA awarded $500,000 to ovarian cancer research projects on May 11, 2021, and an additional $100,000 in National Early Detection Research Awards on November 9, 2021.

The 2021 MOCA-funded researchers include:

  • John Hawse, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, “Interrogating JAK/STAT signaling as an oncogenic driver and therapeutic target in ovarian cancer,” $100,000 for one year
  • Emil Lou, M.D., Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “Targeting channels of ovarian tumor cell communication,” $100,000 for one year
  • Zhenkun Lou, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, “Sensitizing Ovarian Cancer Cells to PARP Inhibitor by LRRK2 Inhibition,” $100,000 for one year
  • Amy Skubitz, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “The first step toward a self-sampling at-home test for ovarian cancer: Detection of ovarian cancer biomarker proteins in cervical swabs,” $100,000 for one year
  • Tim Starr, Ph.D., University of Minnesota and Beau Webber, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “Gene-edited tumor infiltrating lymphocytes for ovarian cancer immunotherapy,” $100,000 for one year

The 2021 MOCA National Early Detection Research Award recipients include:

  • Kevin Elias, M.D., Harvard Medical School, “Cellular communication at the ovarian-fallopian tube interface,” $50,000 for one year
  • T. Rinda Soong, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, “Local and Peripheral Immune Landscapes as Biomarker Signatures Associated with Early Precursors of High-Grade Serous Carcinoma,” $50,000 for one year

MOCA’s past research funding awards listing.

Impact of MOCA-Funded Research

MOCA-funded research has helped to move the field of ovarian cancer forward. Our funded research has been presented at national conferences and findings have been published in scientific journals.

Read updates on the impact of MOCA-funded research.

Help MOCA Fund Research

A financial gift to MOCA helps ensure we can continue this vital work that impacts women today and future generations. To fund a named grant, please contact MOCA Executive Director Kathleen Gavin at