Breast Cancer Research Initiative

The Breast Cancer Coalition now offers funding for two breast cancer research grants, one a maximum of $25,000 for Pre and Post-Doctoral Trainee/Fellows and the other $50,000 for Faculty Applicants.

The Faculty Applicant and the Pre and Post-Doctoral Trainee/Fellows Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Coalition’s 2016-2017 Breast Cancer Research Grant Initiative is now posted. 

To help complete your application, click on the checklist link below.

Breast Cancer Coalition proudly awarded two 2015-2016 research grants of $50,000 each to John Schimenti, PhD, Professor of Genetics, Cornell University, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Sharon S. Evans, PhD, Professor of Oncology, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, Department of Immunology.


Front row, left to right, Nythia Kartha, Dominique Boller, Sharon Evans, Phyllis Connelly. Back row, left to right, Kathy Simpson, Jennifer Gaylord, Patricia Cataldi, Eileen Collins, Melisande Bianchi and Holly Anderson

Dr. John Schimenti received his award on Tuesday, March 23 and will research the use of genomic therapies for breast cancer patients. PhD candidate and assistant, Nythia Kartha accepted the award on
Dr. Schimenti’s behalf.

Dr. Schimenti’s proposal explores the sporadic rise in breast cancers from breast cancer cells that spontaneously acquire defects in crucial genes, one of which is called Arid1a. Dr. Schimenti’s research team discovered that almost all the tumors were missing one copy of a gene Arid1a, and the remaining copy was rendered dormant. This was discovered using a unique mouse model of the sporadic breast cancer. This dormancy is essential for tumor growth. The team will be developing precision genomic methods to reactivate specifically the dormant Arid1a gene, providing the basis for developing a similar precision treatment for breast cancer patients that carry Arid1a mutations.

Dr. Sharon S. Evans, was awarded the grant on Tuesday, March 23 and will investigate the role of cell-based immunotherapy in metastatic breast cancer. Recent successes in cancer immunotherapy have radically changed the treatment landscape for metastatic breast cancer.  Cancer immunotherapy aims to boost the body’s immune defense to destroy cancer cells at primary and metastatic sites. The Evans proposal investigates novel mechanisms of resistance whereby another immune cell type, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, sets up roadblocks to cancer immunotherapy by preventing T cells from entering breast tumors via vascular gateways. These studies could lead to new avenues to enhance treatment outcomes in metastatic breast cancer.

Background: The Coalition is committed to supporting and furthering breast cancer research. Four focus areas have been prioritized: cause, prevention, prevention of metastasis, and cure. Coalition grant money is intended for use as “seed money” to fund innovative new projects with potential to yield significant medical breakthroughs. Through our funding, recipients gain the opportunity to generate the preliminary data required to apply for larger grants from major institutions such as the Department of Defense and the National Institute of Health. The Research Advisory Board, a diverse group of researchers, scientists, clinicians, and survivor advocates, keeps the research program up to date, reviews and scores proposals, and makes funding recommendations to the Board of Directors.

Grant History: The Coalition’s research grant program began in 2003 with a single grant of $25,000. The Coalition suspended its Research Initiative in 2008 to join the New York State Health Research Science Board (HRSB) grant process. For a variety of reasons, the Coalition withdrew from the HRSB and re-launched its Research Grant Initiative for the 2012 -2013 fiscal year.

The Coalition’s Research Initiative has awarded more than $625,000 to area researchers since 2003. The 2015-2016 application cycle will be the fourth time since 2013 that two award recipients were chosen for funding. These grants, unusual for a nonprofit “grassroots” organization, focus on breast cancer cause, prevention, prevention of metastasis, and cure and are an integral part of the Coalition’s continuing efforts to eradicate breast cancer.   

To see our grant history follow this link: Grant History 2003 to present

Service-area-mapApplicant Eligibility (see map):

Researchers affiliated with for-profit and non-profit institutions based in Western and portions of Central New York  are eligible to apply. The funds awarded must be spent within the calendar year of the date of the grant and remain in the specified geographic area; however, travel to attend professional conferences is encouraged.

More Information:

For more information about future grant opportunities, please email Dominique Boller, Research Administrator:




You may view photos from our 2013 press conference for the 2013 Research Grant by visiting Ria Tafani’s website here.

You may view photos from our 2007 press conference for the 2007 Research Grant here.