We provide funding so the brightest minds in pediatric cancer research can find the next big breakthrough.

What We Fund

What We Fund

To call pediatric cancer research “underfunded” is putting it lightly. Among the 12 different types of childhood cancers – yes, there are 12, with dozens of subtypes – the rarest of cancers go for decades without any progress.

Although we’ve made great strides in treating some childhood cancers in the past 50 years, current treatment protocols cause long-term, chronic health problems for survivors like organ damage, fertility issues, and even secondary cancers.

We seek solutions for the underdogs – the rare childhood cancers – so kids living with cancer don’t just survive, but thrive.

Since 2010, we have awarded more than $2,200,000 in Childhood Cancer Research Grants to over twenty institutions worldwide. With these career development awards, our researchers are searching for more effective treatment options, and for a better understanding of how childhood cancers behave.

Institutions Funded


Our Process

Our Grant Cycle

2017 Recipients

Meet Our 2017-2018 Pablove Childhood Cancer Researchers

Gregory J. Aune, M.D., Ph.D.
UT Health Science Center San Antonio

Who is Dr. Aune?

Dr.  Gregory Aune is the recipient of the Pablove Shutterbugs Research Award, which is named after the Shutterbugs students. He is also the Stephanie Edlund Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Cancer Research at the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute in San Antonio, TX. He received both his MD and PhD from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Dr. Aune’s interest in pediatric oncology began at age 16, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While fortunate to survive, the experiences he encountered as a patient initiated his path towards a research and clinical career aimed at developing less toxic chemotherapy regimens. He is also the recipient of the Pablove Shutterbugs Research Award.

What is Dr. Aune currently researching?

The treatments that we give to cure cancer work very well and and approximately 8 out of 10 children with cancer will survive.  While this is great news, there are many ways in which our cancer treatments can be improved.  Many children that survive cancer and grow up to become adults suffer from medical problems caused by the treatments they received as children.  These problems are often very severe and reduce the overall quality of life.  The goal of my laboratory research is to understand how chemotherapy causes damage in the body that results in later health problems.  For the work we are completing with funding from the Pablove Foundation, we are using mice to understand how different cancer medicines damage the heart.  When these studies are completed, we will have better information on which medicines are the least likely to damage the heart.

Pre-clinical Evaluation of Anthracycline Equivalency
Recent studies have linked cancer therapy with cardiac disease in adulthood. The overall goal of my research is to understand how pediatric cancer treatments damage the heart and develop new strategies to decrease heart disease in long-term cancer survivors of childhood cancer. My long-term career goal is to identify the mechanisms that cause cardiac disease in childhood cancer survivors. – Dr. Aune
View the illustration of Dr. Aune’s research by Rachel Ignotofsky

Awarded in partnership with Insomniac-small


Austin Brown, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine

Who is Dr. Brown?

Dr. Austin Brown is an instructor in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. Dr. Brown earned a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center before completing a NCI-funded post-doctoral fellowship in molecular epidemiology at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Brown’s lab conducts research on the molecular epidemiology of therapy-associated toxicity among pediatric cancer patients. In particular, Dr. Brown is interested in identifying how treatment exposures interact with genetic factors to contribute to long-term neurocognitive complications among survivors of pediatric cancer.

What is Dr. Brown currently researching?

Due to improved treatments, most children diagnosed with brain tumors in the United States become long-term survivors. However, these individuals often experience serious health conditions as a result of their treatment. A particularly important problem among survivors of childhood brain tumors is cognitive impairment, which can have a lasting impact on education, employment, relationships, and overall quality of life. While children with brain tumors have an increased risk of cognitive deficits, treatment does not affect all patients equally. Even among similarly treated patients, some may develop cognitive deficits, while others do not. The goal of this project is to screen genes that may increase the risk of cognitive impairment following treatment for medulloblastoma, the most common brain tumor in children. We will then combine genetic, treatment, and patient information to improve our ability to identify groups of patients that are at high risk of experiencing cognitive impairment following treatment. The ultimate goals of my research are to (1) understand the biology underlying cognitive deficits in these children and (2) apply that knowledge to targeted prevention and treatment strategies.


 Theodore Nicolaïtes, M.D.
University of California, San Francisco

Who is Dr. Nicolaïtes?

Dr. Theodore Nicolaïtes is a Pediatric Oncologist/Neuro-Oncologist at University of California San Francisco. He graduated cum laude from Northwestern University and obtained his MD from the New York University School of Medicine. He currently treats children with cancer at UCSF. Dr. Nicolaïtes’ research focuses on novel treatments for patients with brain tumors. There has been a significant increase in the understanding of what makes a brain tumor cell different from a normal cell, and several key signaling molecules, such as EGFR, BRAF, and PDGRA, have been implicated as oncogenes in these tumors. Using cell culture systems and mouse models of pediatric brain tumors, Dr. Nicolaïtes is using new approaches to target these pathways in hopes to bring these novel treatments to patients with these devastating diseases.  

What is Dr. Nicolaïtes currently researching?

Gliomas are the most common type of brain tumor in children. When these tumors can not be removed surgically or are malignant, these patients can have poor survival, despite aggressive therapy with traditional chemotherapy or radiation. Recently, several groups, including ours, have reported mutations in a gene called BRAF in a subgroup of these tumors. A particular mutation (BRAF-V600E) found in the tumors makes them sensitive to a class of drugs called BRAF inhibitors in the lab and we are testing this approach in patients. Unfortunately, not all patients seem to respond to these drugs, and in those that do, resistance can develop. We have recently found that BRAF-V600E mutant gliomas express an increased amount of a protein that blocks the immune system compared to non-BRAF-V600E mutant gliomas. In an initial small pilot mouse experiment, we showed that adding antibody against that protein to the BRAF inhibitor in a model of BRAF-V600E glioma in mice with a functional immune system more than triples survival when compared to BRAF inhibitor alone. Our experiments have the potential to further define the way that gliomas depend on these BRAF mutations to grow, and may identify new treatments for patients with these tumors.  

Alisa Dr. Lee-Sherick, M.D.
University of Denver, Colorado

Who is Dr. Lee-Sherick?

Dr. Alisa Lee-Sherick is an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy with a specialization in hematologic malignancies at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Children’s Hospital Colorado.  She received her M.D. from University of Minnesota, and completed her pediatrics residency at Oregon Health and Science University.  She completed her fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant at the University of Colorado/Children’s Hospital Colorado.  During her fellowship, she was a Pediatric Scientist Development Program fellow where she trained in experimental therapeutic development for pediatric leukemia.  Dr. Lee-Sherick’s research focuses on developing novel ways to harness the immune system to cure pediatric patients with leukemia.  

What is Dr. Lee-Sherick currently researching?

Though pediatric cancer survival rates have considerably improved over the past 40 years, childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is still has a relatively poor outcome. This is partially because the immune system has a hard time recognizing and killing AML cells. Our lab has found that when a protein called MerTK is present on immune cells, the immune system can’t fight leukemia very well. When we block MerTK, the immune system can kill leukemia cells better. The goals of our research are to investigate how blocking MerTK helps the immune system recognize and kill AML. It is important to know how blocking MerTK works on the immune system so that we can decide which patients will benefit most from a MerTK blocking medicine. Though the goal of this grant is to use this treatment for pediatric AML, ultimately we hope to use it in a wide variety of pediatric cancers to improve survival rates and decrease the need for harsh chemotherapy.

Miriam Rosenberg, PhD
Hebrew University Jerusalem

Who is Dr. Rosenberg?

Dr. Miriam Rosenberg received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Washington. She is currently a Marie Curie Fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, where she studies micropeptides as conserved developmental switches. Motivated by close personal experience with opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome (OMS) and Neuroblastoma, she is focusing her research  to search for causative antigens in OMS, and to learn more about tumor-immune system interplay in Neuroblastoma and associated paraneoplastic syndromes.

What is Dr. Rosenberg currently researching?

This project deals with one of the most rare childhood cancers, called Neuroblastoma (NB).  While some kids with NB will get better without any treatment, most kids that get NB have aggressive disease that is hard to control and cure.  The  immune system, which protects your body against infections, can also recognize and attack tumors. Some of the kids with well controlled NB have an additional twist: their immune systems do a great job managing the tumor but get confused and start attacking their own brains, too. This brain attack causes problems with walking, talking, coordination, sleeping, and many other things.  They have a disease called Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome (OMS), an “autoimmune” disease, where the body’s immune system attacks a person’s own healthy tissue. The immune systems in kids with OMS successfully attack the neuron tumor (NB) in the body, but get confused, and accidentally spread this immune attack  to the part of the brain that controls coordination and balance (the cerebellum), causing these extra problems.

Through my research we are trying to define the and understand the body’s  immune response in kids with OMS. The hope is  to be able to develop new diagnostic techniques and treatment strategies for this autoimmune disease and also potentially learn to harness this immune response to fight NB.     



Past Recipients


Apply for a Grant

What We Fund

The Pablove Foundation invites pediatric cancer researchers to apply for The Foundation’s seed grant program, which provides an award of $50,000 to conduct innovative, cutting edge investigations, with preferences going toward less common childhood cancers.

In addition, projects that focus on Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS) will be considered.

The Pablove Foundation is interested in principal investigators who will join us in taking risks, pushing for new solutions, and harnessing the transformative power of science in their research in the following broad areas:

  • Mechanisms of Disease
  • Genetics
  • Preclinical Models
  • Biomarkers and Surrogate Markers
  • Prognostic Factors
  • Diagnosis
  • Innovative Clinical Therapeutic Trials
  • Minimal Residual Disease Detection
  • Treatment
  • Supportive Care and Prevention
  • Amelioration of Long-Term Effects of Therapy

By seeking answers and adding to the body of knowledge in pediatric cancer research, The Pablove Foundation will make an impact on the lives of children who are affected by childhood cancer.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Senior postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty who hold M.D.s or Ph.D.s are eligible for this career development award. In addition, established scientists who are re-directing their research are also eligible to apply for seed funding. Non-US Citizens and international institutions are eligible to apply.

What Can the Funds Be Used For?

$50,000 may be used for direct costs that cover investigators’ salaries, supplies, technical help and travel. In lieu of indirect costs, a maximum of 5% of the grant amount will be provided to sponsoring institutions upon submission of the progress report. The funds cover one year of funding. Grantees who wish to continue gathering preliminary data to prepare for support past the seed stage may apply for an additional year of funding.

The Review Process

The first stage of providing a fair and expert review for grant applications submitted to The Pablove Foundation consists of scientific peer review by a group of highly esteemed scientists who make up our Scientific Advisory Committee.

Applicants must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) through the proposalCENTRAL system.(NOTE: You must click “login” to begin the proposal process.) All LOIs are vetted through a competitive peer review process. Based on scores, a limited number of applicants whose LOIs are deemed most meritorious will be invited to submit Full Research Proposals to be considered for the available grants. The peer review panel uses standard guidelines for scoring applicants with an emphasis on innovation, scientific rigor, and relevance to the mission of The Pablove Foundation.

The Scientific Advisory Committee panel recommendations are then reviewed by The Pablove Foundation Board of Directors who make the final decision on which projects to fund.

While review critiques will be returned to the proposal PI, final scores will not be provided.

Letters of Intent (LOI)

Investigators who wish to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) describing a project that fits within The Pablove Foundation Childhood Research Grants project priority areas must complete the proposalCENTRAL LOI instructions and include the following:

A. Applicant Profile, including:

1) Contact Information

2) Institutional Information

3) Educational Background

4) Research Interests

5) Publication History

6) Current and Pending Support

B. Project Summary, including:

1) Lay Summary

2) Scientific Summary including:

a) Specific Aims

b) Rationale and Approach

c) Innovation, Potential and future Patient Benefit

C. Budget Summary for one year

D. Relevant references to support the PI’s hypothesis must be uploaded as a PDF and limited to 1 page

E. NIH Biosketch, uploaded as a PDF

To begin the LOI Process, please create an account or login here. (NOTE: You must click “login” to begin the proposal process.) Once you create an account, you can save and come back to your application at any time. We are now accepting applications for our 2017 Grant Cycle. Letter of Intent (LOI) submissions for our 2017 Grant Cycle are due by October 19, 2017.

Pablove 2018 Seed Program LOI Guidelines

Pablove 2018 Seed Program Full Proposal

Need Help? Get help quickly from proposalCENTRAL Customer Support by e-mail or by phone!

Phone: 800 875 2562 (Toll-free U.S. and Canada) or +1 703 964 5840 (Direct Dial International)

Normal Business Hours: 8:30am – 5:00pm Eastern Time

For questions about the Pablove Grant process, please email No phone calls regarding pending applications, please.

2017 Timeline

August 15, 2017 – LOI Process Open

October 19, 2017 – Deadline for LOIs (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time)

January 2018 – LOI Applicants Notified of Status

January 15, 2017 – Full Application Process Open to Invited PIs

March 15, 2018 – Full Application Deadline

August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019 – Grantee Award Notification

September 2018 – Pablove Foundation Award Announcement

July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 – Award Dates

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