OCRA’s 2024 Grantees: Early Career Investigator Grants

OCRA’s 2024 Early Career Investigator Grants are awarded to 8 outstanding young researchers with a strong commitment to ending ovarian and related gynecologic cancers. These grants fund innovative projects, and support the next generation of scientists dedicated to curing ovarian cancer.

Teal graphic with collage of 8 researcher headshots. Text reads 2024 Research, Early Career Investigator Grants. OCRA logo appears in top left.

“By supporting these early career investigators, we’re fostering innovative approaches and fresh perspectives into pressing challenges in ovarian and related gynecologic cancers — from chemotherapy resistance and immune evasion, to the role of the microbiome and novel imaging techniques,” says Audra Moran, OCRA’s President & CEO. “Their pioneering work is essential for driving progress in understanding, treating, and ultimately defeating this disease.”

Dr. Melica Brodeur, Jewish General Hospital

 Exploring the role of chromatin remodeling in immune evasion by ovarian cancer cells, seeking new ways to enhance the immune system’s ability to recognize and attack ovarian cancer. 

Dr. Sridevi Challa, University of Chicago

 Understanding how protein modifications in high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) cells contribute to chemotherapy resistance, in order to improve chemotherapy responses and outcomes for patients with the most common and lethal subtype of ovarian cancer. Dr. Challa’s study is made possible in part by a generous gift from Melitta S. and Joan M. Pick Charitable Trust.

Dr. Laura Chambers, The Ohio State University

 Investigating the influence of the gut microbiome on chemotherapy response, and exploring how probiotic supplements may improve quality of life, enhance immune function, and potentially improve treatment outcomes.

Dr. Joshua Doloff, Johns Hopkins University

 Developing crystalline drug reservoirs and biomaterial matrices for precise, controlled delivery of therapeutic agents directly to ovarian cancer sites, aiming to improve drug efficacy and reduce systemic toxicity.

Dr. Sarah Gitto, University of Pennsylvania

 Combining PARP inhibitors with immunotherapy to boost the immune system’s ability to target ovarian cancer cells, and using advanced PET imaging to help predict patient responses to pave the way for more personalized treatment approaches.

Dr. Charles Ishak, MD Anderson Cancer Center

 Targeting the early stages of high-grade serous carcinoma by exploiting repetitive DNA sequences that activate an antiviral response, to develop new therapeutic strategies for early interception and improved response to immunotherapies. Dr. Ishak’s study is made possible in part by a generous gift from The Mike & Patti Hennessy Foundation, and from Jennifer Willett in memory of Lynne Willett.

Dr. Nicole James, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island

 Examining how a gene affects the ovarian tumor immune microenvironment and its role in chemotherapy resistance, to determine the efficacy of targeting the gene alone and in combination therapies.

Dr. Nicole Marjon, University of Colorado Denver

 Investigating how inhibiting suppressor cell recruitment can enhance the effectiveness of T-cell-based immunotherapy in ovarian cancer, in order to develop new strategies for immunotherapy.

Your support helps OCRA-funded researchers pioneer discoveries in ovarian and related gynecologic cancer research. Fund more breakthroughs with a gift today.

Posted on in OCRA News, Research