Grants Awarded

The METAvivor Research Program was established in 2009 with the singular goal of funding research to end death from metastatic breast cancer (MBC). The following list includes current and past grant recipients along with their progress reports.

Active Grant Recipients

Dr. Julio Aguirre-Ghiso Photo

Dr. Julio Aguirre-Ghiso

Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Otolaryngology, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine

Targeting Intrinsic And Immune Mechanisms In Persistent Dormant Cancer Cells In Stage IV Breast Cancer

Dr. Charles Clevenger Photo

Dr. Charles Clevenger

Carolyn Wingate Hyde Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, Chair, Department of Pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University

Inhibition of breast cancer metastatic outgrowth with non-immunosuppressive cyclosporine

Dr. Vera Donnenberg Photo

Dr. Vera Donnenberg

Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Assays to determine optimal dosing and therapeutic effects of localized immunotherapy for established metastatic breast cancer to the pleura

Dr. Gloria Echeverria Photo

Dr. Gloria Echeverria

Post-Doctoral Fellow, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Elucidation and functionalization of transcriptomic heterogeneity of established multi-organ metastases in patient-derived xenograft models of triple-negative breast cancer

Dr. Dorraya El-Ashry Photo

Dr. Dorraya El-Ashry

Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota School of Medicine

Eliminate breast cancer metastasis by targeting the tumor microenvironment

Dr. Xu Feng Photo

Dr. Xu Feng

Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Development of Targeted Drugs for Treating Breast Cancer Bone Metastasis

Dr. Janet Funk Photo

Dr. Janet Funk

Professor Medicine, University of Arizona Cancer Center

Improving Survival in Stage IV Breast Cancer by Targeting Dormant Breast Cancer Cells in Bone

Dr. Ana Garrido-Castro Photo

Dr. Ana Garrido-Castro

Research Fellow in Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Identifying predictive biomarkers of response to PD-1 inhibition in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer

Dr. Mark Headley Photo

Dr. Mark Headley

Assistant Member Clinical Research Division Faculty Member Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Monocyte Contribution To Lung Metastasis Of Breast Cancer

Dr. Fransisca Leonard Photo

Dr. Fransisca Leonard

Postdoctoral Fellow, Godin Lab, Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute

CRISPR-nanoparticle for macrophage reprogramming: New therapeutic strategy for breast cancer liver metastasis

Dr. Sophia Lunt Photo

Dr. Sophia Lunt

Assistant Professor Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University

Targeting Sialic Acid Metabolism to Stop Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Elizabeth McDonald Photo

Dr. Elizabeth McDonald

Assistant Professor of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania

In vivo visualization and quantification of pharmacodynamics response to PARPi therapy

Dr. Erik Nelson Photo

Dr. Erik Nelson

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois

Targeting an immune-suppressive cholesterol metabolite in the treatment metastatic breast cancer.

Dr. Josh Neman Photo

Dr. Josh Neman

Assistant Professor Neurosurgery, University of Southern California

Chemotherapy and tau interplay permeabilize BBB and facilitate brain metastasis

Dr. Axel Schönthal Photo

Dr. Axel Schönthal

Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, University of Southern California

Controlled Opening of the Blood-Brain Barrier to Achieve Therapeutic Access of Trastuzumab in HER2-Positive Brain Metastases

Dr. Brad St Croix Photo

Dr. Brad St Croix

Senior Associate Scientist, National Cancer Institute

Improving Immunotherapies for Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Rachel Stewart Photo

Dr. Rachel Stewart

Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky

Characterizing Metastatic Breast Cancer Heterogeneity through Post-Mortem Tissue Collection

Dr. Wei Tao Photo

Dr. Wei Tao

Instructor, Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Multi-staged delivery system overcoming the physiological barriers for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) therapy

Dr. Michael Wendt Photo

Dr. Michael Wendt

Assistant Professor, Purdue University

Enhancing anti-metastatic immunity through targeted inhibition of SHP2 phosphatase

Dr. Thomas Westbrook Photo

Dr. Thomas Westbrook

Professor, Baylor College of Medicine

Microenvironment response disparities of metastatic TNBC to multi-tyrosine kinase inhibition

Dr. Dihua Yu Photo

Dr. Dihua Yu

Hubert L. & Olive Stringer Distinguished Chair in Basic Science, Professor and Deputy Chair, Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Combating Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis by Blocking CDK5 Driver Kinase Function

Dr. Fiona Yull Photo

Dr. Fiona Yull

Associate Professor, Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Macrophage-based immunotherapy for eradication of pre-existing breast cancer metastases

Dr. Diana Cittelly Photo

Dr. Diana Cittelly

Assistant Professor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Targeting BDNF/TrkB in Brain Metastasis from Young Women with TNBC

Dr. Michael Flister Photo

Dr. Michael Flister

Assistant Professor, Human and Molecular Genetics Center, Medical College of Wisconsin

Personalized Therapy for Curing Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Andrei Goga Photo

Dr. Andrei Goga

Professor, University of California, San Francisco

Targeting the MYC Pathway in Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Melanie Hayden Gephart Photo

Dr. Melanie Hayden Gephart

Assistant Professor, Leland Stanford Junior University

Halting the Progression of Breast Cancer Leptomeningeal Brain Metastases

Dr. Cheryl Jorcyk Photo

Dr. Cheryl Jorcyk

Professor, Director, Boise State University

High Impact Therapeutic for the Elimination of Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bone

Dr. James McIntyre and Dr. Barbara Fingleton Photo

Dr. James McIntyre and Dr. Barbara Fingleton

Research Professor and Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University

A Novel Self-Reporting Paclitaxel Prodrug without Systemic Neurotoxicity: Preclinical Assessment for Targeted Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Vivek Mittal Photo

Dr. Vivek Mittal

Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Targeting Epigenetic Regulator PRC2 as a Therapy for Established Metastasis

Dr. Partha Roy Photo

Dr. Partha Roy

Associate Professor of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh

Pharmacological Inhibition of Myocardin-Family Proteins as a Novel Strategy to Combat Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Rebecca Watters Photo

Dr. Rebecca Watters

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery University of Pittsburgh

Discovery of Clinically Actionable Genes in Breast Cancer Bone Metastases

Dr. Paula Bos Photo

Dr. Paula Bos

Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University

Regulatory T Cell Promotion of Brain Metastatic Processes

Dr. Ian Corbin Photo

Dr. Ian Corbin

Assistant Professor, Advanced Imaging Research Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Lipoprotein Omega-3 Fatty Acid Nanoparticles: A Novel Treatment for Breast Cancer Liver Metastases

Dr. Kathleen Gallo Photo

Dr. Kathleen Gallo

Professor of Physiology, Michigan State University

Deciphering and Targeting Signaling Nodes that Drive Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Todd Giorgio Photo

Dr. Todd Giorgio

Vanderbilt University

Quantitative Characterization of Anti-Tumor Immune Response in Metastatic Breast Cancer Induced by Focused Ultrasound

Dr. Patricia Sheean Photo

Dr. Patricia Sheean

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago

Is lean soft tissue (i.e., skeletal muscle) a potentially modifiable biomarker predictive of prognosis, treatment tolerance and quality of life in women with estrogen receptor negative metastatic breast cancer?

Dr. Sendurai A. Mani (2015) Photo

Dr. Sendurai A. Mani (2015)

Associate Professor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Translational Molecular Biology

Targeting Cancer Stem Cells to Treat Metastasis


Dr. Katherine Loree Cook Photo

Dr. Katherine Loree Cook

Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University

Dietary Considerations Effecting Lung Metastatic Therapeutic Responsiveness and Co-Morbidities

Dr. Joshua Donaldson Photo

Dr. Joshua Donaldson

Senior Medical Oncology Fellow, Johns Hopkins University

Resistance Mechanisms to Palbociclib in Hormone Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Gina Sizemore Photo

Dr. Gina Sizemore

Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University

Targeting Novel Tumor-Stroma Interactions in Breast Cancer Brain Metastases

Dr. David Soto-Pantoja Photo

Dr. David Soto-Pantoja

Assistant Professor, Wake Forest School of Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center

Anti-CD47 Immunotherapy as a Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Kathryn Schwertfeger Photo

Dr. Kathryn Schwertfeger

Associate Professor, Department of Lab Medicine and Patholody, Masonic Cancer Center For Immunology, University of Minnesota

Development of Immune-based Strategies to Enhance Therapeutic Targeting of Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Brad St. Croix Photo

Dr. Brad St. Croix

Senior Associate Scientist, National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research

Improving Therapy for Metastatic Breast Cancer through Targeting of Tumor Stroma

Dr. J. Chuck Harrell (2015) Photo

Dr. J. Chuck Harrell (2015)

Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University

Genomic Dissection of Patient-Derived Xenograft Breast Cancer Liver Metastasis Models

Dr. Yibin Kang (2015) Photo

Dr. Yibin Kang (2015)

Warner-Lambert/Park-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

Development of a Humanized Mouse Model of Breast Cancer Liver Metastasis

Dr. Yibin Kang (2015) Photo

Dr. Yibin Kang (2015)

Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

Sensitizing Bone Metastasis to Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy by Targeting Jagged1-Mediated Tumor-Stromal Interactions

Dr. Bonnie King and Dr. Christopher Contag (2015) Photo

Dr. Bonnie King and Dr. Christopher Contag (2015)

Stanford University

Modeling Therapeutic Strategies for Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bone

Dr. Jitesh Pratap (2015) Photo

Dr. Jitesh Pratap (2015)

Assistant Professor, Rush University Medical Center, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology

Novel Regulatory Mechanisms of Cell Survival During Bone Metastasis of Breast Cancer

Dr. Tiffany  Seagroves (2015) Photo

Dr. Tiffany Seagroves (2015)

Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Tennesee Health Science Center

Targeting Creatine Kinases to Inhibit Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. George Sgouros (2015) Photo

Dr. George Sgouros (2015)

Professor of Radiology, Oncology and Radiation Oncology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine

A Pre-Clinical Model of anti-HER2/neu-Antibody Reactive Breast Cancer Metastases

Dr. Haifa Shen (2015) Photo

Dr. Haifa Shen (2015)

Assistant Professor, Department of NanoMedicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute

Harnessing Vascular and Cellular Depots of Nanotherapeutics for the Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Kay-Uwe Wagner (2015) Photo

Dr. Kay-Uwe Wagner (2015)

Professor, Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Identification of Candidate Target Genes for Metastasis and Cancer Cell Dormancy in a Novel Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Model

Dr. Michael Wendt (2015) Photo

Dr. Michael Wendt (2015)

Assistant Professor, Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University Center for Cancer Research

Targeting Growth-Factor Receptor Discordant Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Elizabeth Yeh (2015) Photo

Dr. Elizabeth Yeh (2015)

Assistant Professor, Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Medical University of South Carolina

Application of a Connexin 43 (Cx43) Targeted Agent for the Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dr. Swarnali Acharyya (2014) Photo

Dr. Swarnali Acharyya (2014)

Assistant Professor, Pathology and Cell Biology, Institute for Cancer Genetics, Columbia University

Reactivating anti-tumor granulocytic cells to provoke immune attack against breast cancer metastasis

Dr. Eran Andrecheck (2014) Photo

Dr. Eran Andrecheck (2014)

Department of Physiology, Michigan State University

Identification of driver mutations that regulate metastasis

Dr. Balamurugan Kuppusamy (2014) Photo

Dr. Balamurugan Kuppusamy (2014)

Staff Scientist, NCI/NIH

Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Role of the CEBPD-FBXW7 Signaling Pathway

Dr. William Schiemann (2014) Photo

Dr. William Schiemann (2014)

Professor and Co-Director Breast Cancer Program, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University

Implementing a Forward Genetic Screen to Identify Novel Proto-Oncogenes Operant in Overcoming Metastatic Dormancy

Dr. Sofia Merajver (2013) Photo

Dr. Sofia Merajver (2013)

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI

Engineering cancer metastases platforms for precise medicine

Dr. Douglas Hurst (2013) Photo

Dr. Douglas Hurst (2013)

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama

Improving oncolytic herpes simplex virus for metastatic breast cancer

Dr. David Lum (2013) Photo

Dr. David Lum (2013)

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Validation of patient-derived breast tumor grafts as predictors of tumor evolution and drug resistance

Dr. Dihua Yu (2013) Photo

Dr. Dihua Yu (2013)

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center,Houston, TX

Identification and Targeting of Kinases Involved in Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis

Dr. Candece L. Gladson, M.D. (2012) Photo

Dr. Candece L. Gladson, M.D. (2012)

The Nancy and William E. Harris Endowed Chair and Professor of Molecular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic

FIP200 promotes survival through autophagy of metastatic breast cancer in the brain

Dr. Heide L. Ford, Ph.D. (2012) Photo

Dr. Heide L. Ford, Ph.D. (2012)

Associate Professor, Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Basic Reproductive Sciences, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Understanding the Role of miR106b-25 in Breast Cancer Associated Metastasis: A potential new metastasis therapy?

Rahul Jandial, MD, PhD (2012)  Photo

Rahul Jandial, MD, PhD (2012)

Neurosurgeon and researcher at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Treatment Center in California

Disrupting metabolic adaptations in breast-to-brain metastases

Dr. Alana Welm (2011) Photo

Dr. Alana Welm (2011)

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Test the value of tumorgrafts in predicting response to therapy.

Dr. Andrea M. Mastro (2011) Photo

Dr. Andrea M. Mastro (2011)

The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Dormancy or growth? A three dimensional in vitro system to study breast cancer metastases in bone

Dr. Danny Welch (2010) Photo

Dr. Danny Welch (2010)

Associate Director of Basic Science, University of Kansas Cancer Center

KISS1 prevents seeded cancer cells from growing into full blown metastases


People diagnosed at stage 0 as well as 30-year survivors can and do metastasize.