Newswise — The PhRMA Foundation awarded more than $6 million over the last two years to more than 100 leaders in scientific research in the United States.  The Foundation is proud to announce another successful year supporting innovative research efforts in areas of great importance:  Alzheimer’s Disease, Melanoma, Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Leukemia, Ulcerative Colitis, Vascular Disease, and Colorectal Cancer. This year the Foundation also funded two Centers of Excellence in Value Assessment.

“A supportive environment for biomedical research and development is essential in order to find the new treatments and cures that give patients hope,” said PhRMA Foundation President Eileen Cannon. “Foundation funding continues to be transformative in the careers of many of the nation’s most promising young scientists, ensuring them the resources they need to achieve groundbreaking research results at institutions throughout the United States.”

 Several highlights from 2018 are:

 Alzheimer’s Research

 Norelle Wildburger, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis is using her PhRMA Foundation funding to better understand the development process of plaque and tangles in Alzheimer’s patients. She and her team have launched a project, working with advanced Alzheimer’s patients who are studied during hospice and whose brains are donated to science following death, that will help shed new light on the timing of Alzheimer’s treatments.  A short video explains and highlights Dr. Wildburger’s work. You can also watch an interview with Dr. Wildburger. She received a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics in 2017.

Mark Ebbert, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience with the Mayo Clinic, studies neurodegenerative diseases using cutting-edge sequencing technologies and computational approaches such as computational biology and bioinformatics. He received a 2017 Research Starter Grant in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. Dr. Ebbert's research is focused strongly on Alzheimer's and helping medicine better understand the origins of this deadly disease. The underlying biology responsible for Alzheimer’s disease remains unclear, and diagnostics and effective treatments have eluded researchers for over 100 years, despite extensive efforts. You can watch a short video about Dr. Ebbert’s work at the PhRMA Foundation website.

Melanoma Research

A. Hunter Shain, PhD, of the University of California San Francisco Department of Dermatology, is a cancer geneticist who published groundbreaking research on gene patterns in malignant skin cancer. He is part of the UCSF team that identified the sequence of genetic changes that transform benign moles into malignant skin cancer. Dr. Shain’s research has identified molecular warning signs that could be used by clinicians to catch developing cancers before they spread and could also lead to new targeted therapies. He received a Research Starter Grant in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics in 2017. You can watch a short video interview online with Dr. Shain in which he describes the work of his team. The team was published July 9 in Cancer Cell.

Value Assessment

The PhRMA Foundation’s Value Assessment Initiative was launched in 2017 because of concern over rising U.S. health care costs in recent years has increased interest in promoting high-quality care, while avoiding low value or inefficient care. To date, the Foundation has provided more than $1.4 million to date to launch a range of research and innovation projects.

Two Centers of Excellences were awarded in 2018:

The first was awarded to George Miller, PhD, of Altarum – which, along with its partner, VBID Health, has launched the Research Consortium for Health Care Value Assessment. Dr. Miller and Mark Fendrick, MD, of VBID Health will lead the consortium promoting pursuit of value in health care delivery in the United States by identifying high- and low-value clinical services, tracking the use of such services, helping to ensure that consumer preferences are incorporated in health care decisions. It will work with researchers to identify the strategies that lead to better value, such as health benefit designs that incentivize the use of high-value services and discourage the use of low-value services. To learn more about the Research Consortium for Health Care Value Assessment, visit

The second was awarded to a team of researchers of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland (UMD) School of Pharmacy. Led by Susan dosReis, PhD, professor in PHSR, the center will strive to promote the inclusion of diverse patient voices in research to help uncover the elements of value in health care that are most important to patients. More details about UMD’s center, known as PAVE: Patient-Driven Value in Healthcare Evaluation, will be coming soon.

More information about the PhRMA Foundation’s Value Assessment Initiative and our full range of programs is available by visiting the Foundation’s website at

A full list of the Foundation's 2018 Fellowship and Grant Recipients includes:


Josh Carlson, PhD

University of Washington

Susan dosReis, PhD

University of Maryland, Baltimore

Lou Garrison, PhD

University of Washington

Robin Z. Hayeems, ScM, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children Research


Quang A. Le, PharmD, PhD

Western University of Health Sciences

College of Pharmacy

George Miller, PhD


Shelby Reed, PhD

Duke University

Gillian Sanders Schmidler, PhD

Duke University

Andrian Towse, MPhil, MA

The Office of Health Economists





Matthew M. Ippolito, MD

Johns Hopkins University School of




Tessa J. Hastings

Auburn University

Nathaniel D. Hendrix, PharmD

University of Washington

Ruixuan Jiang, PharmD

University of Illinois, Chicago

Uriel Kim

Case Western Reserve University School

of Medicine

Brittany R. Lapin, MPH, PhD

Cleveland Clinic

Kathy Trang

Emory University

Andrew D. Wiese, MPH, PhD

Vanderbilt University Medical Center



Cynthia R. Dickerson

University of Kentucky

Jonathon M. Gast

Purdue University

Sam B. Gelman

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Kenneth B. Hoehn, DPhil

Yale University

Hila Sberro Livnat, PhD

Stanford University

Anna Ulrika Lowegard

Duke University

Rendong Yang, PhD

University of Minnesota




Mihailo Miljanic

Dell Medical School



Christine Bowman

University of California, San Francisco

Julie Lorraine Calahan

University of Kentucky

Bodhisattwa Chaudhuri, PhD

University of Connecticut

Shunji Egusa, PhD

The University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Lauren Kathleen Fontana

University of Connecticut

Anjana Jeyaram

University of Maryland, College Park

Peter Alan Kleindl

University of Kansas

William Mark Payne

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Davin Rautiola

University of Minnesota



John A. Allen, PhD

University of Texas Medical Branch

Katelyn M. Arnold

The University of North Carolina, Chapel


Sarah Elizabeth Binion

Marshall University

Daniel J Blackwell, PhD

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Amanda Kay Davis

University of Michigan

Riann Jenay Egusquiza

University of California, Irvine

Tamara Escajadillo

University of California, San Diego

Ryan S. Funk, PharmD, PhD

University of Kansas

Jeffrey A Rappaport

Thomas Jefferson University

Taha Y. Taha

University of Illinois, Chicago

Kaitlyn Thompson

Stony Brook University

Joseph Tillotson, PhD

Johns Hopkins University School of


Julia Tobacyk

University of Arkansas for Medical


Shira Yomtoubian

Weill Cornell Medicine



Melinda Johnson, PhD

Johns Hopkins University

Cameron Kieffer, PhD

Creighton University School of Medicine




Alex Bishara, PhD

University of California, San Francisco

Sam Emaminejad, PhD

University of California, Los Angeles

Kasi C. McPherson, PhD

University of Alabama, Birmingham

Yong Zhang, PhD

University of Southern California




Darrell Abernethy, MD, PhD

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

(awarded posthumously)




Gavril Pasternak, MD, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


About the PhRMA Foundation

The mission of the PhRMA Foundation is to support young scientists in disciplines important to the pharmaceutical industry by awarding them competitive research fellowships and grants at a critical decision point at the outset of their careers.  For more than 50 years, the Foundation has been helping to build a larger pool of highly-trained, top-quality scientists to help meet the growing needs of scientific and academic institutions, government, and the research-intensive pharmaceutical industry. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $90 million to support scientific research. To learn more, please visit