Main Image

  • Posted Tuesday November 28, 2023

TGen Foundation’s Women’s Philanthropy Council Announces Grant Recipient

Study seeks to understand cognitive impairment caused from the interactions between glioma cells and neurons

PHOENIX, AZ—NOVEMBER 28, 2023—The Women’s Philanthropy Council (WPC), a membership group of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) Foundation, today announced Maria Kyirakidou, Ph.D., as the 2023–2024 recipient of the group’s annual WPC Grant Award. This is the fifth grant issued by the WPC, whose members advocate for and support TGen scientific discovery and the acceleration of those discoveries into the clinic to improve patient outcomes. TGen is part of City of Hope.

Kyirakidou is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Floris Barthel, M.D., Ph.D, an assistant professor in TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division. Her study, Connecting the macro- and microenvironment of diffuse glioma development using spatially resolved genomics investigates the spatial growth of glioma tumors, proposes using single-cell spatial transcriptomics on tumor samples from different areas to figure out which cell states contribute to tumor infiltration. The goal is to gain a better understanding of tumor growth and the molecular reasons behind cognitive issues caused by interactions between glioma cells and neurons.

“I am thankful to the WPC for providing funding for my study,” said Kyirakidou. “Support at this level not only provides essential resources but also serves as validation, strengthening my confidence and reaffirming my career path by acknowledging its potential for impact and success.”

A recipient of several awards and scholarships, including the Canadian Centre SEVE and the Schulich awards, Kyriakidou earned her Ph.D. in Plant Science with a focus on bioinformatics from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She earned her MS in Bioinformatics from the University of Leicester, UK, and received a BSc in  Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology, and Food Science from Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus. Her work on pediatric brain tumors began two years ago as a postdoctoral fellow at Dr. Claudia Kleinman’s lab at McGill University, with a focus on cancer and brain development at single-cell resolution.

Annually, a selection committee is self-identified by WPC members that review the applications, which are guided by four criteria: impact, collaboration, momentum and innovation. The committee narrows the applications to the top 3, at which point the WPC membership at large votes to select the final recipient.

“It’s never easy selecting a single recipient from among numerous qualified projects,” said Monique Millon, a WPC and selection committee member. “Brain tumors remain one of the toughest problems facing medicine today, especially diffuse gliomas as there is yet no cure for them, and we recognized the benefit success in this area could mean for furthering the understanding of what drives this horrible disease.”

Through the Women’s Philanthropy Council (WPC), members expand their personal understanding of precision medicine and how it can influence health outcomes for themselves and their loved ones. A minimum annual investment of $2,000 supports innovative research in search of early detection and more effective treatments for complex diseases.  

For information about joining the WPC, please contact Stephanie Grinage, Vice President of Individual Giving, at [email protected] or 602-343-8668.

# # #

About TGen, part of City of Hope
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results. TGen is part of City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research toward patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. Follow TGen on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

Media Contact

RSS Feed