Anne Rita Monahan Foundation awards three scholarships at 5th annual 'Tea for Teal'

TGen's Pilar Ramos earns ARM Foundation scholarship for 2nd year

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Sept. 25, 2013 - The Anne Rita Monahan (ARM) Foundation will award three scholarships to Arizona university science students at its 5th annual Tea for Teal, an annual fundraising event supporting ovarian cancer research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Pilar Ramos, Paul Akhenblit and Diana Paola Alarcon Esteban - all specializing in cancer research - will be honored at the traditional high English tea from 2-5 p.m. Sept. 28 at Scottsdale's DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, 5401 N. Scottsdale Road.

Ramos joined TGen's Breast and Ovarian Cancer Research Unit as a Research Associate in May of 2007. She is fourth year doctoral student in the Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate program at Arizona State University (ASU). Her research is focused on identifying the molecular basis of small cell carcinoma of the ovary (SCCO), a very aggressive type of ovarian cancer that affects adolescent girls and young women, with the goal of developing effective treatment strategies for these patients. There is an urgent need to investigate this type of cancer, as currently there are few therapeutic options for these patients, whose typical life expectancy is 1-2 years after diagnosis.

"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the ARM Foundation for selecting me again as a one of the recipients of the ARM Foundation Scholarship. This award will help me tremendously in continuing to pursue a career in ovarian cancer research," said Ramos, a Research Associate II at TGen.

Ramos received her Associates Degree in Biotechnology from Glendale Community College in 2005. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from ASU in 2007, majoring in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology. While at ASU, she trained as an intern at TGen with financial support through the ASU School of Life Sciences Undergraduate Research (SOLUR) program.

"I had the pleasure of meeting Anne Rita Monahan on several occasions," Ramos said. "I am humbled by the opportunity I have to find better treatments for ovarian cancer patients like Anne."

Paul Akhenblit is a graduate of Arizona State University. While at ASU, he studied Biochemistry, where he gained experience studying the secondary structure of proteins, molecular diagnostics and gene mutations. After graduating in 2011, Akhenblit went on to apply his interdisciplinary skillset in the Cancer Biology Graduate Program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. Today, he continues to use his expertise to develop tools for predicting tumor chemotherapeutic responsiveness through applying novel MRI methods in junction with existing therapies.

As a student in the cell, genetics and developmental biology program at Arizona State University, Diana Paola Alarcon Esteban has excelled in her coursework and shown genuine enthusiasm for studying the field of medicine. Throughout her time as a student, Alarcon has demonstrated leadership skills in the class room and as a volunteer at the Center for Thoracic Disease research laboratory at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. Originally from Mexico City, Alarcon has overcome many obstacles in being a first generation student, a Latina studying in a field of STEM, and working two jobs throughout her undergraduate career.

Esteban expects to graduate this spring, after which she plans on applying to medical school in 2015 and do cancer research, focusing on understanding the role of the LKB1 tumor suppressor and gynecological cancers. What she loves the most about the fields of medicine and research is that learning and knowledge are infinite and never cease.

Guests at the tea will encounter a lively champagne reception and have the opportunity to participate a silent auction, raffle, and hat contest. The traditional English Tea will treat guests to an assortment of finger sandwiches, fresh baked scones and petite desserts.The ARM foundation also recognizes an ovarian cancer crusader who has made contributions for cancer awareness and has displayed determination and perseverance in their journey.

All proceeds from the Tea for Teal (the color representing the fight against ovarian cancer) will benefit research led by TGen, whose team of scientists seeks to develop reliable tests in three areas of unmet needs:

• Screening for earlier detection, when ovarian cancer is most curable.
• Rapid identification of patients whose disease is predicted to resist standard-of-care therapy at the time of diagnosis so that alternative interventions are considered early.
• Identifying new vulnerabilities in all drug-resistant forms of ovarian cancer that can be exploited with targeted therapy.

Individual tickets for the tea are $70; a table for 8 is $500. To register, please visit

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About the Anne Rita Monahan Foundation
The Anne Rita Monahan (ARM) Foundation is dedicated to educating and raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer so that early detection will increase and instances of misdiagnosis will decrease. The Foundation also raises finances to help fund the discovery of an effective, reliable screening tool that will help detect this type of cancer early and give women the best opportunity for full remission. The ARM Foundation marches towards its mission to eradicate ovarian cancer through outreach and educational programs to both the public and the medical community. For more information on the Anne Rita Monahan Foundation please visit:

Press Contact:
Rachel Brockway
ARM Foundation board member
[email protected]


About TGen
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is focused on helping patients with cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes, through cutting edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research towards patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and rare complex diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities literally worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information,

Press Contact:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
[email protected]

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