Research Fellowship Program

In 2015, the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation launched its first Research Fellowship Program with the goal of raising awareness about cholangiocarcinoma and inspiring innovative, quality research.  Award recipients were chosen carefully to ensure that they build working relationships between researchers, institutions, and industry and share information, samples, and expertise with others in the field.  The 2015 grants were named in memory of 3 courageous individuals whose lives were cut too short by this devastating disease: Andrea Marie Fuquay; Andrea Scott and Christopher J. Wilke.


Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award (YIA)

Combined Inhibition of PI3K/Akt and MAPK Pathways in Advanced Biliary Cancer

Amount: $60,000

Researcher: Daniel H. Ahn, DO, The Ohio State University

dahnWe will evaluate the impact of combined blockade of the

Pi3k/Akt and MAPK pathways on skeletal muscle growth and its impact on the quality of life in patients

with advanced biliary cancers.

Daniel H. Ahn, DO

The Ohio State University

Innovation Award

A Balancing Act: Dysregulated Differentiation and Proliferation as a Novel Mechanism of Cholangiocarcinoma Formation

Amount: $60,000

Researcher: Chad Walesky, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

cwalesky“With the support of the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, I will investigate the

interplay of two molecular signals, WNT and HNF4α, which regulate the identity

and growth of bile duct cells. I am extremely excited about the support of the

Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, and am confident that our work can contribute

to finding better treatment options for this devastating disease.”

Chad Walesky, PhD

Department of Medicine – Genetics Division

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Andrea Marie Fuquay Memorial Research Fellowship

Implementation of Precision Medicine Approaches in Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $50,000

Researcher: Daniela Sia, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

dsia“Our study will explore the role of FGFR2 fusions in cholangiocarcinoma and develop minimally invasive screening approaches and robust platforms for the analysis of molecular biomarkers. We hope that our results will effectively fill the existing gap between the recent scientific discoveries and the first biomarker-driven clinical trials leading to a significant improvement of patients’ outcome.”

Daniela Sia, PhD

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Andrea Scott Memorial Research Fellowship

Determining the Cellular Origins of Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $50,000

Researcher: Allyson Merrell, University of Pennsylvania

amerrellMy research will investigate the earliest events in cholangiocarcinoma formation to determine what cell types give rise to cholangiocarcinoma and if changes in cell fate induce cholangiocarcinoma. Understanding where and how cholangiocarcinoma develops will improve our understanding of cholangiocarcinoma development and in turn help us identify genetic targets for therapy.

Allyson Merrell, PhD

University of Pennsylvania

Christopher J. Wilke Memorial Research Fellowship

Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor FGFR Family Gene Aberrations in Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $40,000

Researcher: Katsuyuki Miyabe, Mayo Clinic

kmiyabeIdentification of additional novel Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) target aberrations and determination of their relative sensitivities will allow us to personalize the therapeutic options for patients with cholangiocarcinoma by selecting the specific FGFR inhibitor that is most likely to achieve a clinical effect, and therefore enhance patient outcomes.

Katsuyuki Miyabe, M.D., Ph.D.

Mayo Clinic