2020 BCAN Young Investigator Awardees

The New Discoveries Research Young Investigator Awards support the development of outstanding early career research scientists and clinical cancer research investigators who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the understanding and treatment of bladder cancer.  Each Young Investigator Award provides a $50,000 grant that supports one year of bladder cancer research.

2020 Awardees

A New Discoveries Research Young Investigator Award was presented to Yuki Kita, M.D., Ph.D., for his research proposal, “Defining NRF2 induced tumor invasion in bladder cancer.” A post-doctor Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Kita’s project focuses on a specific mutation (NRF2) which may contribute to bladder cancer progression and metastasis. Through the use of mouse models, Dr. Kita will study the mechanism by which this mutation may enhance invasion and metastasis. Dr. Kita’s goal is to develop a novel mouse model of bladder cancer that can be shared with other researchers for their studies, and provide the clues for a novel therapeutic strategy to suppress NRF2-driven invasion and metastasis.

Dr. Burles Johnson headshot

New Discoveries Research Young Investigator Award was presented 

to Burles (Rusty) Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., for his research proposal, “Targeting regulatory B cells (Bregs) to improve anti-bladder cancer immunity.”  Dr. Johnson is a Medical Oncology Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. His research proposal addresses the role of B cells in bladder cancer by elucidating B cell-specific mechanisms that facilitate bladder cancer tumor growth and resistance to immunotherapy. Dr. Johnson’s goal is to develop methods to target B cell subsets that inhibit anti-tumor attack and improve outcomes for bladder cancer patients.

Dr. Matthew Mossanen Headshot

The New Discoveries Research Young Investigator Awards for Patient Centered Clinical Research was presented to Matthew Mossanen, M.D., MPH for his research proposal, “Identifying Patient and Providers Factors Associated with Smoking Cessation.” Dr. Mossanen is Assistant Professor of Urology at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Dr. Mossanen’s project will use separate surveys to patients and providers to identify factors that contribute to smoking cessation success, and then will use those results to convene a multi-stakeholder panel of patients, caregivers, and providers in order to obtain consensus on a study design for a scalable smoking cessation intervention in bladder cancer care. The ultimate goal is to test the intervention in a program that can then be implemented and tested in a prospective and randomized fashion.