The Skin Cancer Foundation Awards $125,000 in Research Grants

Annual Funding Distributed to Young Investigators in Dermatology

New York, NY (May 6, 2020) – This spring, The Skin Cancer Foundation awarded a combined total of $125,000 in grants to three researchers. The funds encourage innovation in prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The Foundation’s Research Grants program has helped young doctors and investigators with funding for studies that have led to lifesaving breakthroughs.

The 2020 program received 41 applications from 26 institutions in the U.S., a 36.6 percent increase from the previous year. Proposals are submitted by dermatology residents, fellows and young faculty members for one-year clinical studies to be conducted under the auspices of the dermatology departments of medical institutions in the United States. The applications covered new ideas and technologies across the spectrum of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, atypical moles, actinic keratosis and rarer skin cancers.

Committee Chair David Polsky, MD, PhD, assembled a group of volunteer physicians to review the applications and discuss the merit of the work. (Committee members are chosen each year based on the applicant pool, and the review process is managed to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.)

“My fellow committee members and I had the difficult task of choosing just three recipients,” says Dr. Polsky. “There were several other well-conceived projects with great potential. We wish we could fund more projects.”

The 2020 grant recipients are:

Matthew Hangauer, PhD
University of California San Diego
“Targeting Immunotherapy-Tolerant Melanoma Persister Cells”
The Ashley Trenner Research Grant Award: $50,000
Funding provided by Karen and Bob Trenner

Lee E. Wheless, MD, PhD
Vanderbilt University
“Using Bioinformatics to Stratify Skin Cancer Risk in Organ Transplant Recipients”
The Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Research Grant Award: $50,000
Funding provided by Marcia Robbins-Wilf, EdD

Vishal Patel, MD
George Washington University
“Delphi Consensus Determination of a Tumor Stage Based Approach to High-Risk Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma”
Todd Nagel Memorial Research Grant Award: $25,000
Funding provided by Linda Nagel through the Todd Nagel Golf Open

The 2020 Skin Cancer Foundation Research Grants Committee:

Committee Chair David Polsky, MD, PhD
Suephy C. Chen, MD
Leonard H. Goldberg, MD
Thomas J. Hornyak, MD, PhD
Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, MD
Aleksander Sekulic, MD, PhD
Susan M. Swetter, MD
Henry K. Wong, MD, PhD
Lisa Zaba, MD, PhD

Since 1981, generous donors to The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Research Grants program have provided over $1.8 million to more than 150 young physicians and investigators launching worthy studies on skin cancer. For more information about the program, visit


About The Skin Cancer Foundation
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. Since its inception in 1979, the Foundation has recommended following a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use. For more information, visit

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