Our Past Research Fellows

The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Research Fellowship Program is aimed at supporting early career researchers focusing on studies in cholangiocarcinoma. The goal is to raise awareness about cholangiocarcinoma and inspire innovative, quality research.

2017 Elisabeth Dardenne Stefanini Memorial Research Fellowship

Trans-ABC06: Understanding the role of DNA-damage repair mechanisms in patients with cholangiocarcinoma: translational research in the context of the ABC06 randomised phase III clinical trial

Amount: $50,000

Researcher: Angela Lamarca, MD, PhD - The Christie NHS Foundation Trust


Angela Lamarca, MD, PhD

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

“This project will explore the prevalence of mutations in DNA-damage repair genes in tumour samples from patients diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma and their impact on patients’ outcome and response to platinum-based chemotherapy. Our results may be able to identify early on those patients most likely to benefit from platinum chemotherapy, in order to inform clinicians of the most suitable treatment selection.”

2017 Andrea Scott Memorial Research Fellowship

Identifying Therapeutic Strategies for FGFR inhibition in Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $50,000

Researcher: Lipika Goyal, MD - Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University

lipika goyal

Lipika Goyal, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University

"FGFR2 fusions are thought to be driver mutations in 10-20% of patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, and selective FGFR inhibitors are showing promise for these patients. My project is to study genetic and non-genetic mechanisms of FGFR resistance with an eye towards identifying therapeutic strategies that can give patients longer term responses."

2017 Melissa Manza Memorial Research Fund

Targeting YAP as a Novel Therapeutic Approach for Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $50,000

Researcher: John Gordan, MD, PhD - University of California San Francisco


John Gordan, MD, PhD

University of California San Francisco

"Biliary growth is regulated by the Hippo tumor suppressor pathway, but this control is disrupted in cholangiocarcinoma. My research aims to discover how this pathway interfaces with common oncogenic mutations in cholangiocarcinoma in hopes of finding therapeutic approaches to restore its function."

2016 Innovation Award

Contribution of Hepatic Stellate Cells to Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $50,000

Researcher: Silvia Affo, Columbia University


Silvia Affo, PhD

Columbia University

“With this project, I seek to elucidate the contribution of hepatic stellate cells to the desmoplastic stroma of cholangiocarcinoma. Hopefully this study will represent a breakthrough in understanding the biology of this tumor and will provide a rationale for targeting the tumor stroma in addition to the tumor cells themselves.”

2016 Andrea Marie Fuquay Memorial Research Fellowship

2-HG as a Biomarker in Patients with IDH-mutant Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $50,000

Researcher: Lipika Goyal, Massachusetts General Hospital

lipika goyal

Lipika Goyal, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital

“The goal of the study is compare the performance of the novel biomarkers serum and urine 2-HG to the currently used serum biomarker CA19-9 in diagnosing, monitoring, and predicting survival in patients with IDH-mutant cholangiocarcinoma.”

2016 Andrea Scott Memorial Research Fellowship

A Hippo and Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Autocrine Pathway in Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $45,000

Researcher: Sumera Rizvi, Mayo Clinic


Sumera Rizvi

Mayo Clinic

“Our goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the crosstalk between the oncogenic Hippo and FGFR signaling pathways in cholangiocarcinoma. We will investigate inhibitors directed against these pathways to determine if this results in a chemotherapeutic effect in our animal models of CCA.”

2016 Christopher J. Wilke Memorial Research Fellowship

Metabolic Reprogramming by IDH Mutation in Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $50,000

Researcher:  Lei Shi, Massachusetts General Hospital


Lei Shi, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital

“Metabolism to a cell is like gas to a car and much more complicated. With the generous support from the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, I am excited to investigate the reprogrammed metabolism that fuels cancer cell growth and tumor formation in IDH mutated cholangiocarcinoma, which will allow us to develop novel metabolic drugs to improve treatment options and stop this notorious 'car.'”

2015 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


Chad Walesky, PhD

Department of Medicine - Genetics Division Brigham and Women's Hospital

“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.”

2015 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

Daniela Sia

Daniela Sia, PhD

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

“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.”

2015 Andrea Scott Memorial Research Fellowship

Determining the Cellular Origins of Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $50,000

Researcher: Allyson Merrell, University of Pennsylvania

Allyson Merrell

Allyson Merrell, PhD

University of Pennsylvania

My 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.

2015 Christopher J. Wilke Memorial Research Fellowship

Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor FGFR Family Gene Aberrations in Cholangiocarcinoma

Amount: $40,000

Researcher: Katsuyuki Miyabe, Mayo Clinic


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

Mayo Clinic

Identification 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.