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The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama added two new researchers to its Medical Advisory Council

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama has expanded its Medical Advisory Council to support cutting-edge breast cancer research initiatives across the state. The Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) consists of volunteer scientists who identify and recommend the most promising research projects in Alabama for potential funding by the BCRFA. MAC members conduct a scientific evaluation of proposals to ensure resources are directed toward innovative ideas in breast cancer research.

“We are honored to share that we have added two exceptional individuals to our Medical Advisory Council,” announced Beth Davis, President & CEO of BCRFA. “Their expertise will significantly enhance the mission to drive groundbreaking advancements in breast cancer research. By collaborating with these experts, we aim to prioritize innovative ideas and strategies to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of those affected by this disease.”

New Medical Advisory Council members include:

Bin Ren, MD, PhD, FAHA
University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)
William D. Jordan, Jr. MD, Endowed Professor in Vascular Sciences
Research Focus Area: Angiogenesis, Cancer stem cells, Arteriolar Niches in cancer stem cells, and metastatic progression

Dr. Bin Ren is the William D. Jordan, Jr. M.D., Endowed Professor in Vascular Sciences in the Department of Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Heersink School of Medicine. He has studied endothelial cells and angiogenesis in the context of cancers and ischemic cardiovascular diseases for more than 20 years. Dr. Ren received his Ph.D. from the University of Science and Technology of China and an M.D. from Anhui Medical University. He has completed postdoc training in Angiogenesis and Cancer Biology at the Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Before joining the faculty of UAB, Dr. Ren worked at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (New York), Dartmouth College, Cleveland Clinic (CCF), and Medical College of Wisconsin. He has a longstanding interest in understanding endothelial cell biology endothelial cell immunology and functional angiogenesis in ischemic cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease as well as cancer stem cells in metastatic progression.

Chandrani Sarkar, Ph.D.
Mitchell Cancer Institute, University of South Alabama (Mobile, AL)
Assistant Professor
Research Focus Area: Tumor microenvironment, angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, metastasis, role of neuromodulators in cancer progression.

Dr. Chandrani Sarkar is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Alabama, Department of Pathology/ Mitchell Cancer Institute. She has been involved in cancer research, with an emphasis on the role of the tumor microenvironment in cancer progression, particularly the role of tumor neovascularization, since her predoctoral years. Dr. Sarkar’s research focuses on the roles of neurohormones and neuromodulators in the tumor microenvironment during cancer development and metastatic progression. The group has identified that the neurotransmitters dopamine and neuropeptide Y play critical roles in regulating the process of angiogenesis and, hence, the progression of tumors. Dr. Sarkar’s research efforts have led to publications in high-impact peer-reviewed journals. She has also authored and presented her work at national and international professional meetings. 

The two new members join twelve veteran members from Astound Research, Inc. (Birmingham, AL), Southern Research (Birmingham, AL), CerFlux, Inc. (Birmingham, AL), Seagen (Bothell, WA), HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology (Huntsville, AL), University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL), University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, AL), Mitchell Cancer Institute at the University of South Alabama (Mobile, AL), and Auburn University (Auburn, AL).

The BCRFA is scheduled to release its annual Request for Proposals on August 1st. Subsequently, MAC members will diligently review the proposals and provide funding recommendations in the fall. The BCRFA grant awards will be officially announced in December.

About the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama

Founded in 1996, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BCRFA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help find a cure for breast cancer by funding promising breast cancer research in Alabama and raising community awareness and funding for that research. BCRFA funds promote a comprehensive approach to battling breast cancer by promoting collaborative and innovative research to help diagnose, treat, prevent, and eradicate the disease. With community support, BCRFA has invested over $15 million in life-saving breast cancer research and treatments across Alabama since its founding in 1996. Most recently, in December 2023, we announced an annual investment of $1.25 million to our grantee partners, including the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Auburn University, CerFlux, the Mitchell Cancer Institute at the University of South Alabama, the University of Alabama, Tuskegee University, and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. All funding stays in Alabama, but the impact is worldwide.

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