Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Recognizes Future Pioneers in Cancer Research, Promotes Innovation in Cancer Care

Apr 29, 2016

The Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO announced the recipients of the 2016 Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Merit Awards, Oncology Trainee Travel Awards, Medical Student Rotation Awards for Underrepresented Populations, and Resident Travel Awards for Underrepresented Populations. These awards support the important work of promising young researchers, and encourage the incorporation of new perspectives into the oncology field by promoting opportunities for medical students and residents from diverse backgrounds.

Annual Meeting Awards

The Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Merit Awards support clinical cancer researchers early in their careers by providing them with the opportunity to present their research and to interact with colleagues at the ASCO Annual Meeting. This year, the Conquer Cancer Foundation is honoring 102 young oncologists from 12 countries for the exceptional research they will present at the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting.

“This year’s awardees possess a spirit of innovation that guides their many contributions to the full spectrum of cancer care,” said Lynn M. Schuchter, MD, Chair of the ASCO Scientific Program Committee. “We are pleased to recognize them for working to not only improve the quality of life for millions of people affected by cancer, but also to help shape clinicians’ understanding of the disease and how to treat it.”

See the complete list of 2016 Merit Award Recipients. Five additional recipients will be presented with Special Merit Awards for receiving the highest-ranking scores in their respective abstract categories as determined by the ASCO Scientific Program Committee:

Nickhill Bhakta, MD, MPH, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

  • Receives the Bradley Stuart Beller Special Merit Award for the highest-ranked abstract by a fellow, resident or trainee: Cumulative burden of chronic disease in adult survivors of childhood cancer: The St. Jude Lifetime (SJLIFE) cohort (Abstract 10523).
  • Supported by the Bradley Stuart Beller Endowment Fund

Raja Pramanik, MD, All India Institute of Medical Sciences

  • Receives the Brigid Leventhal Special Merit Award for the top-ranking abstract in pediatric oncology: Metronomic therapy versus best supportive care in progressive pediatric solid malignancies: a double blind placebo controlled randomized study (Abstract 10520).

Alvaro Lassaletta, MD, The Hospital for Sick Children

  • Receives the James B. Nachman ASCO Junior Faculty Award in Pediatric Oncology which is given to a junior faculty member in pediatric oncology: BRAF V600E and associated secondary mutations confer poor survival and lack of response to conventional therapies in childhood low-grade glioma (Abstract 10509).
  • Supported by the James B. Nachman Pediatric Oncology Fund

Ian Kleckner, PhD, University of Rochester Medical Center

  • Receives the Pain and Symptom Management Special Merit Award for the highest-ranked abstract in pain management research: A URCC NCORP nationwide randomized controlled trial investigating the effect of exercise on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in 314 cancer patients (Abstract 10000).

Mark W. Knestrick, Jr. MD, PharmD, West Virginia School of Medicine

  • Receives the inaugural Allen S. Lichter, MD Endowed CCF Merit Award for the following research: Benefits of Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) forms on end-of-life care in cancer patients: Insights from the West Virginia registry (Abstract 10006). Established this year, this award recognizes Dr. Lichter’s leadership and his meritorious contributions to advancing cancer research, education, quality of care, and global oncology, and is awarded to a fellow who has a high-ranking abstract.

Additionally, the Conquer Cancer Foundation is providing 28 Oncology Trainee Travel Awards this year. These awards support the continuing education and professional development of trainee oncologists by providing them with a complimentary 2016 Annual Meeting registration, as well as an individual travel grant to defray travel expenses to and from the meeting.

Diversity Awards

Two integral awards from the Conquer Cancer Foundation work to foster a diverse oncology workforce. The Medical Student Rotation Award for Underrepresented Populations and the Resident Travel Award for Underrepresented Populations provide opportunities for young researchers of diverse backgrounds to forge their way in the oncology field.

“The Medical Student Rotation Awards and Resident Travel Awards underscore the vital need for varying perspectives, backgrounds, and areas of focus in the field of oncology,” said Thomas G. Roberts, MD, Chair of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors. “These diverse attributes help spark new ideas and fuel innovation, which translates to progress toward our common goal of creating a world free from the fear of cancer.”

The Medical Student Rotation Award for Underrepresented Populations provides clinical or clinical research oncology rotations for U.S. medical students and pairs students with oncologists for academic and career mentorship.

The 2016 recipients are:

  • Juan Alban, University of Illinois College of Medicine
  • Adrienne Nicole Hawkins Baksh, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Ogochukwu Ezeoke, State University of New York Upstate Medical University at Syracuse
  • Daniel E. Lage, Harvard Medical School
  • Charelle Smith, Trinity School of Medicine

The Resident Travel Award for Underrepresented Populations provides financial support for residents to attend ASCO’s Annual Meeting to network with oncology professionals and learn more about the field and potential careers in oncology.

The 2016 recipients are:

  • Leslie S. Anewenah, MD, Mercy Catholic Medical Center
  • Fiyinfolu Balogun, MD, PhD, New York University School of Medicine
  • Carolina Soto Chervin, MD, PhD, The University of Chicago
  • Frederick Edem Doamekpor, MD, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Lionel Aurelien Kankeu Fonkoua, MD, Penn State College of Medicine
  • Kimberley Lee, MD, Johns Hopkins University
  • Chinelo Madubom, MBBS, The Brooklyn Hospital Center
  • Lina Maria Ortega, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Sherise C. Rogers, MD, MPH, Stony Brook University
  • Ashley Cheree Woods, MD, Yale New Haven Hospital


The 2016 Merit Awards are supported by Amgen; AstraZeneca; Celgene Corporation; Conquer Cancer Foundation; Gilead Sciences, Inc.; Janssen Oncology; Kidney Cancer Association; Lilly; Novartis Oncology; Spectrum Pharmaceuticals; and Takeda Oncology.

The 2016 Oncology Trainee Travel Awards are supported by Amgen and Takeda Oncology.

The 2016 Medical Student Rotation for Underrepresented Populations is supported by Amgen; Conquer Cancer Foundation; Janssen Oncology; and Lilly.

The 2016 Resident Travel Awards for Underrepresented Populations are supported by Amgen; Conquer Cancer Foundation Mission Endowment; and Janssen Oncology.

Supporter listings current as of April 25, 2016.

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