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For Release: April 6, 2011
Steve Bjerklie, Communications Coordinator, (603) 653-9056

$10,000 Melanoma Research Grant Awarded to Katelyn Byrne, Dartmouth Graduate Student and Research Assistant

Katelyn Byrne, right, holds her Research Scholar Award with Mary Jo Turk, PhD, her research mentor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

Lebanon, NH—The Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation (JMNMF) has presented Katelyn T. Byrne, a PhD candidate at Dartmouth Medical School, with one of seven nationally competitive Research Scholar Awards (RSA) that support exceptional graduate students and provide recognition to their lab directors/PIs, schools and cancer research institutions. The $10,000 melanoma research scholarships significantly enhance the potential for advancements in the melanoma cancer field to benefit the broad academic, scientific, clinical, and patient communities.

"I'm honored by this generous grant from the Nicolay Foundation," said Katelyn. "It's deeply gratifying to be supported at this important time in my career when I'm making decisions about the future. Identifying and understanding effective immunotherapies to help treat melanoma patients and protect them against recurrent or metastatic tumors is what I would like to do in an academic setting."

"Kate's findings have already made an important contribution to the field of melanoma research" added Mary Jo Turk, PhD, Byrne's mentor. "We've worked together for three years now, and I can say from experience that the Foundation has made an outstanding choice. I'm extremely proud of Kate and look forward to watching her career develop."

According to Robert E. Nicolay, JMNMF chairman, "Our Foundation's Research Scholar Awards are invaluable at the grassroots level to specifically grow interest in melanoma research at qualified cancer centers across the country. If we can attract the brightest minds that are considering a career in melanoma research, we're that much closer to better understanding the disease, identifying the means for effective treatments, and, most importantly, finding a cure for this deadly and very prevalent disease."

The 2011 RSA applicant pool and cancer research centers represented grew to include 26 of the country's most promising young melanoma researchers and 16 prominent National Cancer Institute ( NCI)-Designated Cancer Centers or members of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI). Now celebrating the program's fifth anniversary, the Foundation's awards were initially piloted with the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in 2006, and expanded nationally to encourage larger numbers of students to choose melanoma research as their professional career path.

In 2011, the JMNMF is very pleased to award the following students and their institutions:

  • Katelyn Byrne - Dartmouth College, Norris Cotton Cancer Center

  • Karin Holmberg - University of Virginia Cancer Center

  • John Kwon - University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • Katie Matatall - Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, Siteman Cancer Center

  • Amanda Claire McIntyre - University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

  • Yvonne Gruber Mica - Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Eric Van Otterloo - University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

About the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation
The Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation is a non-profit public charity founded in January, 2004 to foster melanoma education, advocacy and research. In just over seven years, the Foundation has grown dramatically to become an influential voice in the melanoma community and is now established as a national, and international, "voice for melanoma prevention, detection, care and cure."

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Norris Cotton Cancer Center combines advanced cancer research at Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School with patient-centered cancer care provided at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock regional locations in Manchester and Keene, NH, and St. Johnsbury, VT, and at 11 partner hospitals throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. It is recognized and designated by the National Cancer Institute for its breadth and depth as one of just 40 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S. Learn more about Norris Cotton Cancer Center research, programs, and clinical trials online at


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