research

Past Research

MOCA has been providing ovarian cancer research funding since 2001. We have awarded more than $11 million in research funding.

Below please find details on our past 5 years of research funding. If you are interested in learning more about past MOCA research funding, please call the MOCA office at 612-822-0500.

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


2021 MOCA Research Funding
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

2020 MOCA Research Funding

MOCA awarded $400,000 to ovarian cancer research projects on November 19, 2020. Learn more and watch our 2020 Research Awards program.

The 2020 MOCA-funded researchers include:

  • Matthew Block, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, “Restructuring the ovarian cancer immune microenvironment with the heparan sulfate mimetic PG545.” $100,000 for one year. This award is funded in part by MOCA’s Spin it Teal Research Award.
  • Amy Skubitz, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “Early detection of ovarian cancer.” National Early Detection Research Award, $100,000 for one year. This award is funded in part by the Molly Cade Research Grant.
  • Vijayalakshmi Shridhar, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, “Quinacrine-induced active Cathepsin L is essential to promote ‘BRCAness’ to sensitize HR proficient ovarian cancer cells to PARP inhibitor.” $100,000 for one year.
  • Daniel Vallera, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, “Engaging the immune system against ovarian cancer.” $100,000 for one year.

2019 MOCA Research Funding

MOCA awarded $680,000 in funding to researchers in Minnesota and across the nation. In addition to the 2019 funding awards, MOCA provided $475,000 to multi-year grant awards that were funded in 2017 and 2018.

The 2019 MOCA-funded researchers include:

  • Melissa Geller, M.D., M.S., University of Minnesota. “IL-15 superagonist ALT 803 maintenance therapy to prevent recurrence of advanced stage ovarian cancer.” $100,000 for one year.
  • XInyan Wu, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic. “A humanized antibody against AXL receptor tyrosine kinase as a novel therapy for ovarian cancer.” $100,000 for one year.
  • Emil Lou, M.D., Ph.D., University of Minnesota. “Targeting channels of ovarian tumor cell communication.” $80,000 for one year.
  • Valentina Zanfagnin, M.D., Mayo Clinic. “Repurposing ceritinib to enhance the efficacy of Olaparib in ovarian cancer.” $100,000 for one year.
  • Reuben Harris, Ph.D. University of Minnesota. “Diagnosing and targeting APOBEC3B in clear cell ovarian carcinoma.” $100,000 for one year.
  • Amy Skubitz, Ph.D., University of Minnesota. “Verification of a biomarker panel for the early detection of ovarian cancer using serum samples from multiple sources.” $150,000 for one year.
  • Naoko Sasamoto, M.D., M.P.H., Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA. “High throughput protemics profiling for identification of early detection biomarkers of high-grade serous ovarian cancer.” National Early Detection Research Grant Award. $50,000 for one year.

2018 MOCA Research Funding

In May 2018, MOCA provided a total of $775,000 to ovarian cancer researchers. We awarded $675,000 to five ovarian cancer research projects developed by Minnesota researchers.

We also awarded $100,000 to two researchers as part of our National Early Detection Research Awards.

The 2018 MOCA-funded researchers include:

2018 Minnesota Research Projects:

  • Martina Bazzaro, Ph.D. University of Minnesota, “Targeting of mitochondrial activity to prevent and treat recurrent ovarian cancer.” $75,000 for one year. Spin it Teal Research Award.
  • Carol Lange, Ph.D. and Laura Mauro, Ph.D. University of Minnesota, “Targeting DNA damage sensing protein kinases in hereditary ovarian cancer. $200,000 for two years.
  • Swayam Prabha, Ph.D., MBA. University of Minnesota, “Glycoengineered mesenchymal stem cells for combination chemo and immunotherapy of ovarian cancer. $100,000 for one year.
  • Viji Shridhar, Ph.D. Mayo Clinic, “Targeting LRRC15 to inhibit metastasis and recurrence of ovarian cancer.” $200,000 for two years.
  • Bruce Walcheck, Ph.D. University of Minnesota, “Engineered natural killer cells expressing chimeric CD64 as a cancer immunotherapy.” $100,000 for one year.

2018 National Early Detection Research Awards:

Robert Bast, M.D. M.D. Anderson, “Serum autoantibodies for detection of early-stage ovarian cancer.” $50,000 for one year.

Haiwei Gu, Ph.D. Arizona State University, “Metabolomics diagnosis of ovarian cancer.” $50,000 for one year.

Start typing and press Enter to search