grants

About our Grants

Each year, multiple $50,000 grants are awarded by The Baldwin Fund. All grants are provided specifically to researchers in Central New York and specifically for the purpose of breast cancer research.

Each $50,000 grant is named in honor of someone from Central New York who lost their fight against breast cancer. The purpose of the grants is to fund preliminary medical explorations to determine whether a particular breast cancer research theory has merit. Results from promising studies funded by The Baldwin Fund are used to apply for funding of large-scale research studies.

History of our Grants

All grants provided by The Baldwin Fund are provided specifically for researchers in Central New York and specifically for the purpose of breast cancer research. When Carol Baldwin first started her fight against breast cancer, there were already a number of organizations dedicated to early detection, awareness, education, and funding for mammograms. As a result of these efforts, people are now finding breast cancer sooner. Although this was a step forward, Carol was troubled by the fact that just as many men and women are getting breast cancer today as in the 1970’s. She believes that it is important to get to the source of the problem and look for the cure and recognizes that finding a cure is impossible without research.

Each year, five grants in the amount of $50,000 are given to local breast cancer researchers. The money is to be used specifically for funding studies related to breast cancer research. No machinery, equipment, literature, etc. is funded by the grant. The design of the Grant is two part – an initial $25,000 is given to the researcher and, after a successful one-year review, a second $25,000 is provided to the researcher.

A team of local breast cancer doctors review all applications and determine which studies to fund each year. It is the hope of The Baldwin Fund that results from promising studies will be used to apply for funding of large-scale research studies.

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Laurie Lipsy Segal and Jacqueline Pickard Rose

The role of FOX A1 and MLL3 in endocrine resistant breast cancer
Michael Cosgrove PhD, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
This research examines the presence of proteins that makes breast cancer resistant to therapy.


Kathleen Rogalia and Meghan Murman
Optimizing direct drug delivery to brain for breast metastases
Satish Krishnamurthy, MD , Department of Neurosurgery
This research focuses on new ways to deliver medication to breast cancer that has spread to the
brain.


Anita Hogan
ABI1 gene dose effect and identification of potential therapeutic targets for prevention of breast cancer
metastasis
Leszek Kotula, MD,PhD, AbiramiSivapiragasam MD, Vladimir A. Kuznetsov, DSci,PhD, Department of Urology
This research looks at a gene that may be a target for new breast cancer therapy.

Ellie VanEenenaam
Role of Hic-5 in BreastTumorStromal Matrix Remodeling
Principal Investigator:ChristopherTurner,PhD, DepartmentofCelland Developmental Biology;Co-Investigator: Lisa
Lai, MD Surgery
CAFs generate and remodel a stromal ECM that surrounds and supports tumor cells. We
discovered the protein critical for stimulating this process and published data implicates it in
aggressive breast cancer. Our study analyzes this protein’s ability to support CAFs and may be a new
marker for therapeutic intervention.

Patricia Card
Investigation of RBEL1A in Human Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Ying Huang, MD,PhD, Department of Pharmacology
RBEL1A is over expressed in some breast cancers. We have identified two agents that strongly
inhibit RBEL1A expression and will investigate their ability to inhibit growth of breast cancer cells.
Our study may provide a new line of therapy.

Laurie Mezzalingua
Targeting the Phase Separation of MBDs in Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Alaji Bah,PhD, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Our lab is working on a new approach to developing novel breast cancer therapeutics by looking
at how the DNA in breast cancer dysregulates. We discovered that methylated DNA binding
proteins can undergo phase separation, a process by which molecules can de-mix from their
solvent. This may lead to developing new therapy.

Naomi Lynne Sciortino Wells
MK2 signaling in STAT3-driven breast cancer
Principal Investigator:Christine King,PhD, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
STAT3 is a key molecule that controls the ability to grow, move and invade breast cancer cells.
This molecule is activated in more than half of all breast tumors, and correlates with disease
severity. We are investigating the ability to modify STAT3’s activity.

Muriel Bisignani
Predictive biomarkers for Hsp90 drugs activity in breast cancer
Principal Investigator: Mehdi Mollapour PhD, Department of Urology
Hsp90 is critical for cancer cell survival. Hsp90 inhibitors are being evaluated in clinical trials in
cancer patients, including those with breast cancer. We have discovered FNIP1 as a new cochaperone that decelerates Hsp90 activity. Our hypothesis is that phosphorylation of FNIP1 impacts
binding of Hsp90 to drugs and influences the potency of its inhibitors in breast tumors.

Melanie Rich
The metastatic potential of cytomegalovirusand breast cancer
Principal Investigator: GaryC.Chan,PhD, Departmentof MicrobiologyandImmunology
Cytomegalovirus is a common virus found in asymptomatic humans. A high prevalence of
human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) proteins and nucleic acids are found in primary breast cancer and
the metastatic sentinel lymph nodes, suggesting
HCMV contributes to breast cancer tumor formation and metastasis. We have found that HCMVinfected macrophagessecrete a distinct “cocktail”with strong cellular invasion inducing properties.
We hypothesize that the activation of HCMV-infected macrophage leads to the secretion
mediators, which increases the metastatic potential of the breast cancer.


Christi Merritt
Abi1 in breast cancer metastasesand anti-HER2 therapies
Principal Investigator: Leszek Kotula, MD,PhD, Departmentof Urology;Co-investigator: Isabelle Bichindaritz,PhD
Several molecular targets for breast cancer therapy have been identified including the estrogen
receptor, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), human EGFR-2 (HER2), phosphatidylinositide 3-
kinase (PI3K) and HER2.
HER2 is a receptor tyrosine kinase which activates three major intracellular signaling pathways,
promoting aggressive tumor growth. The Abi1-WAVE regulatory complex seems to be associated
with a similar increase in activity of these pathways.
We propose to elucidate the role of Abi1 in PI3K-dependent resistance of HER2-positive
breast cancer.


Julie Elpers Otis
Role of marrow adiposityin skeletal metastasis of breast cancer
Principal Investigator: Jason A. Horton,PhD, Departmentof OrthopedicSurgery;Co-investigator: MeiYun Lin
Bone is the most common site of breast cancer metastases, an event that generally signifies
progression toward incurable disease. These metastatic lesions tend to occur adjacent to
hematopoietic “red” marrow, suggesting that this microenvironment is uniquely suited to support
engraftment of circulating metastatic cells. Recent studies have discovered that adipocytes in the
red marrow play a key role in recruitment of metastatic prostate cancer cells to bone and can
facilitate their survival. We propose to examine the role of marrow adipocytes in the initiation and
progression of skeletal metastases.

Charis Kasper Carlson
Targeting Pol ITranscription in BreastCancer
Principal Investigator: Bruce A. Knutson,PhD, Departmentof Biochemistryand Molecular Biology
In breast cancer cells, an enlarged and hyperactive nucleolus signifies an aggressive tumor that
requires immediate treatment. Increasing nucleolar size is the result of upregulated RNA
polymerase I (Pol I) transcription. Targeting the Pol I transcription is an emerging anticancer
strategy. This proposal expects to illuminate the critical rDNA elements required for the DNA
binding activity of a central Pol I factor called SL1, and lead to better Pol I based anticancer
therapies.


Tanya Gebman McGinn
Development ofa natural product for breast cancer treatment
Principal Investigator: M.SaeedSheikh, MD,PhD, DepartmentofPharmacology
Plants are major source for discovery and development of anticancer drugs. Several plant-based
anticancer drugs are currently in clinical use. Fagonia indica is a plant of medicinal value in South
Asian countries. We have used one of the purified compounds from Fagonia indica (QA) and found
that QA strongly suppressed the growth of two different human breast cancer cell lines by inducing
apoptosis (cell death).
We hypothesize that QA can be developed as a novel agent for the treatment of breast cancer in
general and triple-negative breast cancers in particular.

Chieh Jen Ryan
Improved breast cancer care by prediction of impending fractures
Principal Investigators:Timothy A. Damron, MD, Kenneth A. Mann,PhD
Breast cancer patients who develop bone metastases are at risk for disabling fractures.
Identification of risk before fracture allows for prophylactic surgery, which reduces disability and
pain. Current methods are poorly predictive of fracture risk. With previous Baldwin grants, we have
used a CT-based finite element system to better identify the risk of fracture in these patients. This
grant will allow a multi-institutional study to further verify the sensitivity and specificity of this
method.

Carol Prager
Targeting extracellular proteolysis in invasive breast cancer
Principal Investigator: Dimitra Bourboulia, PhD
Breast cancer cells migrate and invade in order to metastasize and kill. Matrix Metalloproteinases
[MMPs] degrade components of the extracellular matrix, leading to invasion and migration. This
study looks at the natural inhibitors of MMPs and related compounds. Understanding the
mechanisms of these interactions may lead to new treatment options for metastatic breast cancer.

Judy Morelle
Discovery of breast cancer-specific fusion genes
Principal Investigator: Wenyi Feng,PhD
Chromosome aberration induced genes are recognized as common in most human cancer
development. New gene-sequencing technologies allow detection of many gene fusion events,
which may serve as biomarkers for clinical classification and targeted therapy. This study will use a
novel technology, Break-seq, developed in our lab to map spontaneous and induced DNA double
strand breaks in breast cancer cell lines. This may lead to the development of new therapy.

Jill Jorolemon
Spatial synchronization of asignaling cascadein breast cancer
Principal Investigator: Heidi Hehnly,PhD
The process of cell division relies on the synchronization of signaling activity at the mitotic
spindle. A defect in spindle orientation due to mitotic protein kinase cascade mislocation has been
implicated in tissue architecture loss and cancer progression. Our lab has identified such an
abnormal cascade. This grant will further study this abnormality, which will help understand the
mechanism of metastasis and potential therapies.

Susan Sauro Wolfram
A nano therapeutic overcomes BBB and drug resistance in breast cancer brain metastases
Principal Investigators: JuntaoLuo, PhD, Vivian Gahtan, MD
The blood-brain barrier [BBB] prevents systemic therapy from treating brain metastases from
breast cancer. Cabazitaxel [CBZ] is a new third-generation taxane developed to overcome drug
resistance. It also crosses the BBB and can treat brain metastases. The doses needed can adversely
affect other organs. The nano carrier delivery system developed in our lab will be studied to see that
it can optimize the delivery of CBZ to the tumor while sparing the normal tissue.

Karen Mortell
Targeting V-ATPaseSubunit Isoforms for BreastCancerTherapy
Principal Investigator:Stephan Wilkens,PhD, Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Solid tumors, including those of the breast, tend to rely on glycolysis for energy supply. A
byproduct of this metabolic switch is an excess of protons in the cytoplasm. To prevent cell death,
cancer cells upregulate proton transport systems, including the multisubunit enzyme complex
known as vacuolar ATPase (V-ATPase). Recent evidence suggests that breast cancer invasiveness is
correlated with high level expression of V-ATPase on the tumor cells’ plasma membrane, making VATPase a potential drug target. V-ATPase inhibitors have shown promise with suppressing
invasiveness in cultured cells, but the compounds’ toxicity precludes their therapeutic use. Here we
propose to develop single domain antibodies (“nanobodies”) directed against specific isoforms
which– will determine high resolution structure.


Jamie Lynn Batruch -The Alexander Family
Role of PP5 Phosphatasein Tamoxifen Resistancein BreastCancer
Principal Investigator: Mehdi Mollapour,PhD Department: Urology
Approximately 70% of breast tumors express the estrogen receptor-〈(ER). Tamoxifen
significantly reduces disease progression by blocking estrogen association with ER. However, many
tumors eventually develop resistance to tamoxifen (TamR). Interestingly, ER isstill critical for growth
of breast tumors with acquired TamR. Therefore, ER remains a valid target for treatment of Tam-R
breast cancer. The serine/threonine protein phosphatase-5 (PP5) regulates several signalingcascades that are responsible for tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. Our study has
revealed that PP5 is hyperphosphorylated in TamR-breast cancer cells compared to their nonresistant parent cells.


Loretta M. Bregou and Katherine Bregou Grainger
Role of Pim1 in BreastCancer Progression
Principal Investigator: Golam Mohi,PhD Department:Pharmacology
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Many patients with breast cancer die due to
lack of effective therapies. In preliminary studies, we have observed that Pim1 expression is
significantly increased in tumorigenic breast cancer cells compared with normal breast epithelial
cells. Knockdown of Pim1 significantly inhibits the growth of both ER+ and triple-negative breast
cancer cells. Furthermore, treatment of TP-3654, a novel small molecule second-generation Pim
kinase inhibitor, potently inhibitsthe growth of both ER+ and triple-negative breast cancer cells. We
hypothesize that Pim1 plays an important role in breast cancer progression. Our studies will define
the role of Pim1 in the growth, survival, migration and invasion of breast cancer cells.


Jeanelle Cross
Myo1easa Tumor Promoter: Mechanisms and Therapeutic Potential
Principal Investigator: Mira Krendel, PhD Department: Cell and Developmental Biology;Co-Investigator: JuntaoLuo,PhD
Myosin 1e (Myo1e) is a motor protein that regulates cell adhesion and migration. Myo1e
expression correlates with poor prognosis in patients with invasive breast cancer. Our preliminary
findings show that Myo1e deletion increases tumor latency and reduces tumor growth and
metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer. We hypothesize that Myo1e (1) promotes
tumorigenesis via its effects on transcription factor YBX3/ZONAB and cell cycle regulator cyclin D1
and (2) promotes tumor migration and invasion during metastasis. This project will provide
mechanistic insights into the molecular pathways leading to formation and metastasis of mammary
tumors and serve as the basis for using Myo1e as a drug target in breast cancer.cancers.

Shirley Hall
Structural Basis for PAD2 Regulation of the MLL1 Core Complex
Principal Investigator: Michael S. Cosgrove, PhD Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Protein arginine deiminase-2 (PAD2) converts positively charged arginine residues to neutral
citrulline and is one of the most highly up-regulated genes in luminal breast cancer cells. Inhibition
of PAD2 induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in cancer cells, but the molecular mechanisms
involved are not understood.We recently discovered that PAD2 specifically targetsthe Mixed Lineage
Leukemia-1 (MLL1) protein in breast cancer cells, a key master regulator of cell identity. These results
suggest that inhibition of PAD2 catalyzed citrullination of MLL1 may be a novel strategy for targeted
breast cancer therapy. In this proposal we address questions about the specificity of PAD2 with the
goal of developing novel targeted inhibitors for treatment of breast cancers.

Dedicated in Loving Memory Dawn Steber
The Function and a Possible Targeting of Bok in Breast Cancer Cells
Principal Investigator: Richard JH Wojcikiewicz, PhD
Department: Pharmacology

Dedicated in Loving Memory Jean Ellen Bounds
Immunity. Breast Cancer, and GAP Junctions
Principal Investigator: Steven M Taffet, PhD
Department: Microbiology and Immunology
Co-Investigators: Michael F. Princiotta

Dedicated in Loving Memory Kris Reid
Prevention of Metastases through Blockade of Formins
Principal Investigator: Scott D. Blystone, PhD
Department: Cell & Developmental Biology

Dedicated in Loving Memory Nancy Munro Chase
Characterization of a Mitochondrial Biomarker for Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: M. Saeed Sheikh, MD, PhD
Department: Pharmacology
Co-Investigators: Steve Landas, MD Department of Pathology

Dedicated in Loving Memory Stephanie Flick Jodway
Rescue of Mutant p53 in Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Stewart N. Loh, PhD
Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Co-Investigators: Darren Carpizo, M.D. Ph.D., F.A.C.S., Robert Wood Johnson
University Hospital, Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Susan Buckley
Prevention of Metastases through Blockade of Formins
Principal Investigator: Scott D. Blystone, PhD
Department: Cell & Developmental Biology

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Mary (Orlando) Cipollone
Rescue of Mutant p53 in Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Stewart N. Loh, PhD
Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Co-Investigators: Darren Carpizo, M.D. Ph.D., F.A.C.S., Robert Wood Johnson
University Hospital, Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Jean Knight Tearney
The function and a possible targeting of Bok in breast cancer cells
Principal Investigator: Richard JH Wojcikiewicz, PhD
Department: Pharmacology

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Nancy Ann GianGreco
Characterization of a mitochondrial biomarker for breast cancer
Principal Investigator: M. Saeed Sheikh, MD, PhD
Department: Pharmacology
Co-Investigators: Steve Landas, MD Department of Pathology

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Amie Lynn Shaffer
Immunity. Breast Cancer, and GAP junctions
Principal Investigator: Steven M Taffet, PhD
Department: Microbiology and Immunology
Co-Investigators: Michael F. Princiotta

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Jean Adele Aiello
Identification of New Combinatorial Drug Targets for Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: David Amberg, MD, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Co-Investigator: Saeed Sheikh, MD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Judy Ciciarelli
Translating to Clinical Practice: CT-based Fracture Risk Assessment in Metastatic Breast Cancer Lesions
Principal Investigator: Kenneth Mann, MD, Department of Orthopedic Surgery
Co-Investigator: Tim Damron, MD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Kim Ball
A New Drug Delivery Method to Manage Metastatic Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Satish Krishnamurthy, MD, Department of Neuro Surgery
Co-Investigator: Jing An, MD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Laura McCarthy Fried
Targeting SHIP1/2 in Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: William Kerr, MD, Department of Micro Biology and Immunology

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Victoria Mulligan
The Interaction Between Adducin and NHE1 in Breast Cancer Cells
Principal Investigator: Diana Gilligan, MD, Department of Medicine

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Janice Ruth Levy Rothenberg
Targeted Inhibition of the EGFR and Her2 Oncogenes in Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Dawn E. Post, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Sisters Cynthia J. Schwenn Keelhar, Pamela J. Schwenn Davis, Nancy J. Schwenn Mack
Altered Skeletal Vascularity Following Radiation Therapy
Principal Investigator: Megan E. Oest, PhD
Targeted Inhibition of the EGFR and Her2 Oncogenes in Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Dawn E. Post, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Marsha Senn Bassi
Structural Studies of Signaling Pathways in Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Edward Berry, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Eleanor Sawmiller Schardt
Smart Nanocarriers for Targeted Breast Cancer Therapy
Principal Investigator: Juntao Luo, PhD
Co-Investigator: Ziwei Huang, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Patricia Covey Bailey
Breast Tumor Interactions with Bone Marrow Stem Cells
Principal Investigator: Bryan S. Margulies, MS, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Diane Vogler
Arctiin as a Novel Chemotherapeutics for Treatment of Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Ying Huang, MD, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Jannie M. Roehm
Development of CXCR4-targeted Metastasis Blockades for Human Breast Cancers
Principal Investigator: Jing An, MD, PhD
Co-Investigator: Ziwei Huang, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Nancy Duffy
MR Diffusion-Weighted and parametric breast imaging combined with MR Spectroscopy and parametric PET/CT for enhanced breast cancer detection
Principal Investigator: Andrzej Krol, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Elizabeth Departout
Rapid Predication of Bone Fracture Risk in Metastatic Breast Cancer Lesions
Principal Investigator: Kenneth A. Mann, PhD
Co-Investigators: Timothy A. Damron, MD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Linda Richardson
Abnormal Tropomyosis Protein Expression in Human Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Bernard J. Poiesz, MD
Co-Investigator: Dipak Dube, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Suzanne Richer
How Does the Combination of Radiation and Surgical Intervention for Metastatic Breast Cancer Affect Local Bone Health
Principal Investigator: Timothy A. Damron MD
Co-investigators: Kenneth Mann PhD and Joseph Spadaro PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Ann Heins
Spot Compression Elasto-mammography
Principal Investigator: Vinay Pai PhD
Co-investigators: Priya Bhandarkar MD; David Feiglin MD; Andrzej Krol PhD; Kent Ogeden PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Irma E. Wyse
A Possible Peptide-Based Therapy for Breast Cancer
Principal Investigator: Steven Taffet PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Mary Anne Desantis O’Brien
Targeting Multiple Cancer Cell Mechanisms Used to Escape Death
Principal Investigator: Sandra A. Hudson PhD
Co-investigators: Peter Hahn, PhD and Jeffrey Bogart, MD, Radiology Oncology

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Susan Tucker Strong
4D and Parametric Breast Imaging for Enhanced Breast Cancer Detection using PET/CT and MRI
Principal Investigator: Andrzej Krol, PhD
Co-Investigators: David Feiglin, MD; Kara Kort, MD; Michele Lisi, MD; Mary McGrath; MD, Robert Plouz-Snyder, PhD; Nikolaus M. Szevereny, PhD

Dedicated in Loving Memory of Louise Camilli Magnarelli
Predicting Bone Fracture in Metastatic Breast Cancer Lesions
Principal Investigator: Kenneth Mann PhD
Co-Investigators: Matthew J. Allen, PhD, Timothy A. Damron, MD

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