Sarcoma Foundation of America Announces 2020 Research Grant Awards

DAMASCUS, Md. – May 28, 2020 – The Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA), an organization dedicated to increasing research and awareness for sarcoma, today announced that it has awarded three-quarters of a million dollars in research funds to deserving scientists as part of its 2020 SFA Research Grant program.  Fifteen research grants, each worth $50,000, have been awarded to researchers who have made it their mission to study sarcoma, a cancer that arises in the body’s soft tissue and bone. All proposals are peer reviewed by members of the SFA Medical Advisory Board who award the grants to the best, most promising research toward the cure for sarcoma. 

“The Sarcoma Foundation of America is honored to support the work of the 15 exceptional researchers that have been selected to receive a 2020 research grant award. We believe their efforts will contribute to increasing scientific understanding of sarcoma and can help lead us to advancements in the treatment of the disease,” said Brandi Felser, Executive Director of the Sarcoma Foundation of America. “Our investment in their work is a continuation of SFA’s mission to fill the research funding gap and make progress in the pursuit of discovering the cure for sarcoma. We are proud that our efforts have made the SFA the leading research and sarcoma patient advocacy organization in the country.”

Since its inception, the SFA has invested more than $11 million in sarcoma research through its Research Grant program and collaborative research projects. More information on SFA’s research efforts can be found at

Sarcoma Foundation of America 2020 Research Grant Awards

Dr. Richard and Valerie Aronsohn Memorial Research Award
Daniel Vallera, PhD
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
“Enhanced NK cell Immunotherapy for Treatment of Chemotherapy Refractory Sarcoma”

Zach Cohen Memorial Research Award
Anthony Faber, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University
“MCL-1 inhibition unmasks BCL-2 addiction in synovial sarcoma”

Zach Cohen Memorial Research Award
Madelyn Espinosa-Cotton, PhD
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
“Identification of novel drug targets and predictors of clinical outcomes in desmoplastic small round cell tumors using next-generation sequencing”

Catherine Malatesta Memorial Research Award
Yvonne Versleijen-Jonkers, PhD
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center
“Unraveling the tumor immune microenvironment of angiosarcomas”

Pittsburgh Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Ryan Roberts, MD, PhD
The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
“Identifying mechanisms of osteosarcoma chemoresistance that arise from the lung metastatic niche”

STL Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Irfan Asangani, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
“EWS-FLI1 triggered opportunistic de novo enhancer assembly activates potential cellular therapy targets in Ewing Sarcoma” 

STL Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Emily Keung, MD
MD Anderson Cancer Center
“Evaluating the Chromatin Accessibility Landscape as a Driver of Clinical Behavior in Primary Treatment Naive Liposarcoma”

Race to Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Chiara Mozzetta, PhD
Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari
“Unwinding new therapeutic opportunities in rhabdomyosarcoma: the role of RNA helicase DDX5”

Race to Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Breelyn Wilky, MD
University of Colorado Cancer Center
“Boosting Tumor Immunogenicity to Enhance Response to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Soft Tissue Sarcomas”

Race to Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Heike Daldrup-Link, MD, PhD
Stanford University
“Imaging response to CD47 mAb immunotherapy in pediatric patients with osteosarcoma”

Race to Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Isidro Cortes Ciriano, PhD
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
“Comprehensive analysis of osteosarcoma genomes and transcriptomes using long-read sequencing technologies”

Race to Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Laura Riolobos, PhD
University of Washington
“Combining Th1 specific multi-antigen cancer vaccines and radiation for liposarcoma treatment”

Race to Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Sonia Guil, PhD
Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute
“The Role of Pseudogenes as Regulators of the IGF2BP2/IGF1R/RAS Axis in Rhabdomyosarcoma: Functional Characterization in Myogenesis and Implications for Anticancer Therapy”

Race to Cure Sarcoma Research Award
Javier Martin-Broto, MD, PhD
Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla
“Phase I-II trial of sunitinib plus nivolumab after standard treatment in advanced soft tissue and bone sarcomas”

Sarcoma Foundation of America Research Award
Masanori Hayashi, MD
University of Colorado Denver
“Immunomodulation of Ewing sarcoma to enhance allogenic NK cell therapy”


About the Sarcoma Foundation of America
The Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, is an advocate for increased research to find new and better therapies with which to treat patients with sarcoma. The organization raises money to privately fund grants for sarcoma researchers and conducts education and advocacy efforts on behalf of sarcoma patients. For more information, please visit

About Sarcoma
Sarcoma is a rare cancer in adults (1 percent of all adult cancers) but rather prevalent in children (about 20 percent of all childhood cancers). At any one time, 50,000 patients and their families are struggling with sarcoma. Every year, nearly 15,000 new cases are diagnosed and about 6,000 people die from the disease.

Contact Information

Lori Hoffman
(301) 253-8687, ext. 105