The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) awarded its 2016 Brian D. Novis Research Grants in a ceremony December 5, 2015 at the 57th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in Orlando, FL.

For 20 years, the IMF has funded promising clinical investigators in the field of multiple myeloma from around the world through the generous donations of private individuals and IMF Member Fundraisers held across the country.

Among those generous donors is Kristi Willette, who leads the Willette Charitable Foundation. At the IMF’s research grants awards ceremony in Orlando, she presented the organization with a check for $100,000 to support myeloma research.

“We are so grateful for Kristi’s generous and continuing support for research that will surely lead to a cure for myeloma,” said Susie Novis Durie.

In addition to donations from individuals, organizers of IMF Member Fundraiser events sponsored several of the 2016 Brian D. Novis Research Grants. As she introduced the winners of the Novis research awards at ASH, Susie Novis Durie made it a point to recognize the event organizers whose hard work made specific grants possible. Amidst hugs and tears, it was clear the researchers were thrilled to have a chance to meet and thank their benefactors:

Sharon and Scott Kowalczyk funded their first research grant this year after hosting the ChekFest Multiple Myeloma Golf Fundraiser last year. Their event is funding the research of Dr. Giada Bianchi (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute).

Ron and Sheree Pask, along with co-organizer Gina Klemm, are funding their fourth grant in three years through the Miracles for Myeloma 5K Run/Walk. Their event is funding the research of Dr. Irene Ghobrial(Dana-Farber Cancer Institute).

Bob and Shelley Zins host the JC Golf Tournament, one of the IMF’s longest-running member fundraiser. This is their fifth research grant, and is funding the research of Dr. Geoffrey M. Matthews (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute). 

Craig Czerkies and his family, organizers of the Carolyn Czerkies Memorial Golf Outing in memory of their mother, have funded four research grants. This year their event will fund the research of  Dr. Vijay Ramakrishnam (Mayo Clinic).

2016 Brian D. Novis Research Grant Recipients

Brian D. Novis Senior Grants

Irene Ghobrial, MD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute): Blood biomarkers for clonal progression in Multiple Myeloma

Norma C. Gutiérrez, MD, PhD (Salamanca Institute for Biomedical Research (IBSAL), University Hospital of Salamanca): Optimization and validation of an automated capillary immunoelectrophoresis technology to quantify the expression of essential proteins in the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma

Yang Yang, MD, PhD (University of Alabama at Birmingham): Runx2 regulation of EMT and a bone resident of cell-like phenotype in myeloma cells

Fenghuang Zhan, MD, PhD (University of Iowa): NEK2 signaling in myeloma osteolytic disease

Brian D. Novis Junior Grants

Giada Bianchi, MD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute): Investigating the Role of Robo1 in Migration and Homing in Multiple Myeloma

Barbara Castella, PhD (CERMS - AOU Città della salute e della scienza di Torino): Targeting the inhibitory pathways in the bone marrow microenvironment of multiple myeloma patients

Pádraig D’Arcy, PhD (Karolinska Institute): Proteasome Deubiquitinase Inhibitors as a new treatment for Multiple Myeloma

Geoffrey M. Matthews, PhD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute): Treating myeloma through inducing degradation of BET bromodomain proteins

Vijay Ramakrishnan, PhD (Mayo Clinic): Targeting glutamine addiction in MM cells to inhibit disease progression and enhance myeloma therapeutics


Yoshiaki Chinen MD, PhD (Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Science):Regulation of PDPK1 and its clinical significance in multiple myeloma


Daiju Ichikawa, PhD (Keio University): Identification of novel thalidomide-binding proteins and drug design for teratogenicity-negative IMiDs

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