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 $10 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!”

2022 MOCA-FUNDED Research

MOCA awarded $987,000 to Minnesota-based ovarian cancer research projects on May 24, 2022, and an additional $100,000 for our National Early Detection Research Award on November 9, 2022.

The 2022 MOCA-funded researchers include:

  • Gunda Georg, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “Discovery and development of allosteric inhibitors of Cdk2/cyclin E as non-toxic ovarian cancer drugs,” $150,000 for one year
  • Timothy Griffin, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “Towards an integrated microbiome host protein biomarker panel for early detection of ovarian cancer in routinely collected clinical samples,” $100,000 for one year
  • Emil Lou, M.D., Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “Targeting channels of ovarian tumor cell communication,” $87,000 for one year
  • Viji Shridhar, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, “The Role Quinacrine-Induced Nuclear Cathepsin L (nCTSL) as a Therapeutic Target in Ovarian Cancer,” $150,000 for one year
  • Stefani Thomas, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “Autophagy-mediated sensitization of high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells to PARP inhibitor treatment in the setting of BRCA1/2 mutation status,” $100,000 for one year
  • Erin Wesley, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “Evaluating the impact of CMV and inflammation on high grade serous ovarian cancer” $100,000 for one year
  • Chen Wang, Ph.D. and Xiaonan Hou, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, “Investigate Synthetical Lethality Between Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase Inhibitor and Hedgehog Inhibitor for Ovarian Tumors with Proficient Homologous Recombination Repair Activities,” $150,000 for one year
  • Xinyan Wu, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, “Elucidating underlying mechanisms of intrinsic resistance to PARP inhibitors in ovarian cancer,” $150,000 for one year

The 2022 MOCA National Early Detection Research Award recipient:

  • Kathleen Burns, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School “Development of an Ultrasensitive Blood Test for LINE-1Encoded ORF1p for Ovarian Cancer Detection,” $100,000 for one year

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