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

Annual Funding Awarded to Three Early Career Investigators in Dermatology

New York, NY (October 07, 2022) — This fall, The Skin Cancer Foundation awarded a combined total of $125,000 in grants to three researchers. The Foundation’s Research Grants program has helped early career doctors and investigators with funding for studies that have led to lifesaving breakthroughs related to the prevention, detection and treatment of skin cancer. Since the program’s inception over 40 years ago, the Foundation has funded more than $2 million in research grants.

The Foundation accepts proposals from dermatology residents, fellows and faculty members within 10 years of their first academic appointment for one-year clinical studies to be conducted under the auspices of the dermatology departments of medical institutions in the United States.

Longtime 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.) This year, the committee selected three winners from 15 finalists.

“Every year, we see submissions from brilliant investigators early in their careers who have ideas with great potential to advance science and save lives,” says Dr. Polsky. “It is always difficult to choose just three projects to move forward from such a talented pool of applicants. We have high hopes that The Skin Cancer Foundation may be able to fund more of these projects in the future to help transform the world of skin cancer care.”

The 2022 Research Grant Recipients are:

Brian C. Capell, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Genetics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Dr. Capell received the $50,000 Todd Nagel Memorial Research Grant Award for his proposal “Elucidating Epitranscriptomic Mechanisms to Inhibit Keratinocyte Cancers.” The project aims to test a new approach for treating and preventing keratinocyte (nonmelanoma) cancers by shedding light on a new realm of gene regulation known as “RNA epigenetics” or “epitranscriptomics” that is highly dysregulated in cancer but also targetable with novel drugs. The award was funded in part by Linda Nagel, who organizes a charity golf event in Minnesota each year in memory of her late husband, Todd Nagel, who passed away from melanoma.

Aditi Sahu, PhD
Senior Research Scientist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City
The Research Grants Committee awarded a second $50,000 grant, the Ashley Trenner Research Grant Award, to Dr. Sahu for her project: “Single-Cell Profiling for Identifying Markers of Melanoma Invasion.” This proposal is focused on single-cell profiling of in situ and invasive melanoma, with the goal of resolving novel transcriptional states that drive melanoma invasion by overcoming the limitations of bulk analysis from previous studies. In vivo imaging-guided targeted biopsies will ensure accurate sampling from in situ and invasive areas in lieu of laser-capture microdissection on histology sections. Bob and Karen Trenner fund this research grant in honor of their daughter Ashley Trenner, who passed away from melanoma.

Bilal Fawaz, MD
Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Boston University
Dr. Fawaz received the $25,000 Dr. Marcia Robbins-Wilf Research Grant Award for his proposal, “Combination of 5-Fluorouracil and Calcipotriene in the Treatment of Superficial Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas in Situ.” The goal of this project is to determine the clearance rate of superficial basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma in situ after treatment with 5-fluorouracil cream combined with calcipotriene cream twice daily for seven to 14 days. The award was funded in part by Marcia Robbins-Wilf, EdD.


About The Skin Cancer Foundation
The Skin Cancer Foundation saves and improves lives by empowering people to take a proactive approach to daily sun protection and the 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

Ali Venosa
Marketing Communications Manager

Isha Vedantam
Communications Coordinator


Make a Donation
Find a Dermatologist

Recommended Products