Awardees & Updates – 2016

2016 FWW Research Award

Ovarian Cancer

Ronny Drapkin, MD, PhD of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, will study a novel therapeutic target in the epigenetic dysfunction of ovarian cancer. Most cancers are caused by DNA mutations. However, those that are not, including most ovarian cancers, are caused by epigenetic changes that allow for cancer to take over healthy cells and grow. In recent decades, it has been shown that cancer cells possess an altered metabolism that can be a target for therapy. While this has been extensively studied in other cancer types, ovarian cancer metabolism is poorly understood. This study aims to identify and test a promising druggable pathway to thwart ovarian cancer cell growth and provide a new and effective therapeutic opportunity for treating this deadly disease.

Dr. Drapkin is the Director of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine’s Ovarian Cancer Research Center and an Associate Professor of obstetrics-gynecology. He received his medical specialty training in pathology and cancer biology from Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and was Associate Professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. Ronny is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for his work in this field.

2016 FWW Research Award


Melanie Schorr, MD of Harvard Medical School and Mass General Hospital, will study endocrine determinants of sacropenic obesity in women. Although there has been a lot of focus on the detrimental health effects of excessive body fat, there has been little research on how muscle mass and quality affects the health of obese women. Drs. Schorr and Miller will examine how sacropenia (i.e. the loss of lean muscle mass) affects endocrine health and cardiometabolic risk in young overweight and obese women. This study will provide pilot data to improve understanding of how best to develop prevention and treatment options for this growing population of women.

Dr. Schorr is an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Schorr’s awards and academic honors include “Most Outstanding Female of the Graduating Class” from Dartmouth College and chief medical resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Co-PI Karen Miller, MD is the Director of Neuroendocrine Research Program in Women’s Health at Mass General Hospital and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is a graduate of Yale College and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and has won numerous awards and leadership recognition.