2023 Medical Research Awards

Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board recently selected 6 talented early career scientists to receive Medical Research Awards for a total of $1.35M in grants! Awards are $225,000 over a three year period. We are delighted to welcome these brilliant investigators to our Gabrielle’s Angels family! Stay tuned for spotlights on each grantee and their work throughout the rest of the year.

As always, you can check out the incredible research breakthroughs from our current and past grantees on our website.

Clockwise from top left: Kevin Liou, MSKCC; Tatiana Marquez-Lago, UAB; Riu Lu, UAB; Santosha Vardhana, MSKCC; Sydeny Lu, Stanford Medical School; Lai Chan, Cleveland Clinic


3 Year grants funded from 2024-2026

Kevin Liou, MD 

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center ~ Integrative Project 

Title:  Pilot trial of Telehealth Music Therapy for Cognitive Dysfunction in Hematologic Cancer Survivors 

Description: Lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma survivors often experience difficulties with attention and memory after receiving cancer therapies. Unfortunately, treatments for cognitive issues are limited. The PRELUDE study is a randomized controlled trial that will test the feasibility and effects of music therapy for cognitive difficulties in lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma survivors.

Tatiana Marquez-Lago, PhD

University of Alabama Birmingham ~ Integrative Project

Title: Reducing inflammation in MPN’s: molecular mechanisms and testing potential  disease modifying therapies 

Description: MPNs are a group of chronic, progressive blood cancers that reduce life expectancy and quality of life. MPN patients have limited therapeutic options, all implying risk. In this project, we will study a risk-free, food-based approach to decrease inflammation in MPNs and test if it proves an effective therapeutic strategy.

Riu Lu, PhD 

University of Alabama Birmingham

Title: Deciphering and Targeting Epigenetic Reader Dependencies in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Description: MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia is an aggressive form of leukemia with poor survival outcomes. In our proposal, we focus on a unique, druggable epigenetic reader crucial for the disease’s progression. By further evaluating this reader, our research could unveil new avenues for more targeted treatments for this deadly disease.

Santosha Vardhana, MD, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Title: Elucidating the mechanisms of response and resistance to bispecific antibody therapies in indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas

Description: Bispecific antibodies, which have emerged as a potent treatment for patients with B-cell lymphomas, activate immune-mediated killing of cancer cells. The proposed research will determine the cellular actors that drive initial and sustained responses to this novel class of therapeutics and identify targetable resistance mechanisms to prevent relapse following treatment.

Sydney Lu, MD, PhD

Stanford Medical School 

Title: Novel approaches to therapeutic targets for SF3B1 mutated leukemias

Description: Many leukemias have mutations in the SF3B1 gene. Its function is to “stitch together” RNA correctly. RNA is akin to a manufacturing blueprint for making proteins. When mutated, SF3B1 makes abnormal RNA and thus abnormal proteins. We are studying how to target these abnormal RNAs and proteins to treat leukemia.

Lai Chan , PhD 

Cleveland Clinic/ Lerner Research Institute

Title:  Synthetic lethality as a therapeutic strategy for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Description: We propose a new DLBCL treatment using a concept called synthetic lethality. Synthetic lethality happens when changes in two genes cause cells to die, but a change in either gene alone does not. This approach selectively targets DLBCL with specific changes in specific genes, making it a promising treatment option.