Leading ovarian cancer organization announces 2017 honorees

Largest private funder of ovarian cancer research recognizes top researchers and community leaders

NEW YORK — Today, Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRFA), the nation’s leading ovarian cancer research, advocacy and patient support organization, announces this year’s winners of its research and survivor awards at its annual conference.

OCRFA honors two outstanding researchers for their cutting-edge work on diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Dr. Ronny Drapkin from the University of Pennsylvania will receive the Rosalind Franklin Award for Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research, and Dr. Juan Cubillos-Ruiz from Weill Cornell will receive the Schreiber Research Prize for Outstanding Mentored Investigators.

The Rosalind Franklin Award for Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research recognizes a senior researcher for his or her outstanding contribution to the field of ovarian cancer research.  Dr. Drapkin is the Franklin Payne Associate Professor of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Director of the Penn Ovarian Cancer Research Center, and the Director of Gynecologic Oncology Research at the Basser Center for BRCA.  A highly accomplished basic science researcher, the Prize recognizes his previous and ongoing research on the origins of ovarian cancer.  Dr. Drapkins’s work has made a pivotal contribution to the understanding of women’s cancer biology.

The Schreiber Research Prize for Outstanding Mentored Investigators is presented to junior faculty who used an OCRFA grant to make a demonstrable impact the field of ovarian cancer research and has transitioned to a full-time faculty position.  While funded by OCRFA, Dr. Cubillos-Ruiz made meaningful discoveries, and then leveraged his OCRFA grant into a full-time faculty position and an additional $2 million in research funding to support his innovative work.  The award is named in honor of Ann and Sol Schreiber, OCRFA’s founders.

“To find a cure for ovarian cancer, we need researchers who are truly committed to this field, from honing in on the disease’s origins to dedicating themselves to new discoveries,” said Audra Moran, president and CEO of OCRFA. “We want to recognize researchers at the beginning of their careers as well as those established in their work who are passionate, innovative and dedicated to stopping ovarian cancer.”

OCRFA is the largest non-government funder of ovarian cancer research and since 1998 has invested more than $75 million in life-saving research, in addition to lobbying lawmakers to preserve public funding for ovarian cancer and ensure that ovarian cancer is priority.

OCRFA also recognized survivors and community leaders who have made a difference in the ovarian cancer community. The Cindy Melancon Spirit Award recognizes survivors for their commitment to the ovarian cancer community. This year’s winners are Annie Ellis (White Plains, NY) and Susan Leighton (Huntsville, AL), both long term ovarian cancer survivors who have dedicated themselves to advancing the interests of women with ovarian cancer. The other survivor award, the Teal Champion Award, will recognize Hope for Heather, an organization which expands awareness of ovarian cancer in central New York, and its founders, Frieda and Gary Weeks.

“Ovarian cancer survivors play a critical role in our community to move the needle forward, from improving patient support to building awareness through real women’s stories,” said Moran.

Awards were announced on July 8 during OCRFA’s Ovarian Cancer National Conference, the largest national conference for ovarian cancer in the U.S. It convenes over 300 survivors and caretakers to hear from researchers, experts and advocates on the latest advances in ovarian cancer awareness and prevention. This year’s conference is taking place in Chicago from Friday, July 7 to Sunday, July 9.

Learn more about the Ovarian Cancer National Conference.


Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRFA) is the largest global organization dedicated to fighting ovarian cancer.  OCRFA advances research to prevent, treat and defeat ovarian cancer, supports women and their families before, during and beyond diagnosis, and works with all levels of government to ensure ovarian cancer is a priority.

Posted on in OCRA News, Research