OCRA Awards Rosalind Franklin and Liz Tilberis Research Prizes for 2022
OCRA is pleased to award research prizes to Dr. Ursula Matulonis and Dr. Pradeep Chaluvally-Raghavan, two investigators doing groundbreaking and important work in the field of ovarian cancer research. OCRA’s research prize recipients are selected by members of OCRA’s Scientific Advisory Committee. These prizes were awarded in December 2022.
Dr. Ursula Matulonis Awarded Rosalind Franklin Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Prize for 2022
The Rosalind Franklin Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Prize is an annual prize named in honor of Dr. Rosalind Franklin, a molecular biologist whose discoveries around DNA structure helped transform the field of cancer research before she passed away from ovarian cancer at age 37. This award honors individuals who are making outstanding contributions to basic science, translational or clinical research in ovarian cancer, continuing Dr. Franklin’s legacy of excellence in research.
Ursula Matulonis, MD, is Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is the first recipient of the Brock-Wilson Family Chair at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and co-leads the Gynecologic Cancer Program within the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the Ovarian Cancer Specialized Program in Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Matulonis serves as Grants Oversight Chair of OCRA’s Scientific Advisory Committee. In 2014, she received OCRA’s Collaborative Research Development Grant for her project, “Rational Combinations of Novel Biologic Agents for Ovarian Cancer Therapy.”
Dr. Matulonis has led several PARP inhibitor, anti-angiogenic agent, immunotherapy, antibody drug conjugate, and combination trials for ovarian cancer in the United States and internationally. She is internationally recognized for her leading role in the clinical development of PARP inhibitors and other practice-changing therapies for ovarian cancer.
Dr. Matulonis has led several key trials that have resulted in the approval of PARP inhibitors by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) for recurrent ovarian cancer; has made significant strides in better understanding chemotherapy resistance; and was co-principal investigator of the SORAYA study, the results of which show promise for a potential new treatment for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.
Dr. Matulonis holds a leadership role in the ovarian cancer community, receiving numerous honors for patient advocacy and research excellence. She serves as a mentor to junior faculty and fellow, supporting researchers who have since emerged as leaders in ovarian cancer research and treatment, and ensuring future generations of scientists continue to pursue more effective therapies and ultimately a cure.
Dr. Pradeep Chaluvally-Raghavan Awarded Liz Tilberis Research Prize for 2022
The Schreiber Research Prize for Outstanding Mentored Investigators is a biennial prize that is named for Ann Schreiber, who passed away from ovarian cancer, and for her husband Sol Schreiber, who founded Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (now OCRA) in her honor. This prize is awarded to a junior researcher who has used OCRA funding to impact the field of ovarian cancer research by making a significant discovery, an important contribution to literature, or transitioning to a full-time faculty position.
Pradeep Chaluvally-Raghavan, MSc, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He received OCRA’s Ann Schreiber Mentored Investigator Grant in 2013 for his project, “Role of microRNAs in the 3q26 Amplicon in Ovarian Cancer Pathophysiology and Therapy,” and OCRA’s Liz Tilberis Career Development Award in 2016 for his project, “Unexpected Role of CLDN11 cdRNA in Ovarian Cancer.”
Dr. Chaluvally-Raghavan credits OCRA’s support with enabling transformational changes in his research, not only in the basic mechanistic studies but also in developing agents that have the potential to treat ovarian cancer patients.
Since receiving grants from OCRA, he has established a robust and highly-focused research program that is investigating non-coding RNAs, and RNA binding proteins in cancer cells and in infiltrated immune cells.
Dr. Chaluvally-Raghavan’s research group findings are currently being translated into investigational drugs for clinical trials.