The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network Announces Four Awardees of Its 2022 Young Investigator Awards

Awardees recognized for novel, early career research to improve the lives of bladder cancer patients

(May 25, 2021, Bethesda, MD) – The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) today announced the recipients of its four Young Investigator Awards presented to exceptional early career research scientists and clinical cancer investigators who have shown a commitment to improving the lives of bladder cancer patients.

Each Young Investigator Award provides a $50,000 grant supporting one year of bladder cancer research.  Since 2009, BCAN has awarded more than $6 million to promising scientists and research investigators and these awards demonstrate that the important work to improve the understanding of bladder cancer continues. 

This year’s Young Investigator awardees are Raie Bekele, PhD, an Instructor of Radiation Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Laura Bukavina, MD, MPH, a Urologic Oncology Fellow at the Research Institute of Fox Chase Cancer Center and Weisi Liu, PhD, a Post-doctoral Fellow in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.  Dr. Bekele’s project title is “Dissecting the Interplay Between MAPK and PPARG Signaling in Bladder Cancer,” Dr. Bukavina’s is “Antitumor Activity of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG in Murine Model of Bladder Cancer,” and the title of Dr. Liu’s project is “Synthetic Lethal Strategies to Limit Tumor Evolution Driven by APOBEC3 Activity in Urothelial Cancer.”

The 2022 Patient-Centered Clinical Research Young Investigator Award was awarded to Ava Saidian, MD, a Urologic Oncology Fellow at Moores Cancer Center at the University of California San Diego.  Dr. SaidIan’s project is titled “Disparities in Patient Reported Outcomes Among Spanish Speaking Latinx Patients with Bladder Cancer.”

“We are so pleased to invest in the approaches and ideas of today’s up-and-coming bladder cancer researchers who are dedicated to improving patient and caregiver outcomes,” said Andrea Maddox-Smith, the CEO of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.  “These awards are a direct result of the wonderful generosity of our donors.”

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network’s (BCAN’s) mission is to increase public awareness about bladder cancer, advance bladder cancer research and, provide educational and support services for the bladder cancer community.


Mark Story
Director of Communications and Marketing
301-215-9099, ext. 208