TGen cancer researcher one of first recipients of ARM scholarships

Anne Rita Monahan (ARM) Foundation also names 2012 ‘Crusader’

TGen cancer researcher one of first recipients of ARM scholarships

Anne Rita Monahan (ARM) Foundation also names 2012 ‘Crusader’

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Sept. (..), 2012 — Pilar Ramos, an ovarian cancer researcher at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), is one of the three inaugural recipients of an Anne Rita Monahan (ARM) Foundation Scholarship.

ARM named two other scholarship winners, and announced that Scottsdale ovarian cancer research advocate, Annette Leal Mattern, will receive this year’s ARM Foundation Crusader Award.

All four awards will be presented during ARM’s 4th annual Tea for Teal, a traditional high English tea, from 2-5 p.m. Sept. 29 at Scottsdale’s DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, 5401 N. Scottsdale Road.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the ARM Foundation for selecting me as a one of the recipients of the inaugural 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, working under Dr. Heather Cunliffe, head of TGen’s Breast and Ovarian Cancer Research Unit.

“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.”

Ramos is a third 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.

Ramos joined TGen’s Breast and Ovarian Cancer Research Unit, as a Research Associate in May of 2007. She 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.

Other recipients of the inaugural ARM Foundation Scholarships are:

  • Liu Qi Chen, who is earning her doctorate in Chemistry at the University of Arizona, where she is  developing a non-invasive imaging method that measures the acid content in  umors of ovarian cancer patients. Because tumor acidosis causes  chemo-resistance, this diagnostic method can predict the therapeutic  effect before starting the chemotherapy treatment of ovarian cancer.
  • Cameron Cripe, who is  pursuing an undergraduate degree in both Biology and Biochemistry at ASU.   His research is primarily geared towards the creation of new products  based on natural molecules that he hopes to “evolve” into   something it was not intended to do. He developed her research interest  because of family members and others who have passed away from cancer.

Mattern — President and Co-Founder (2008) of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Arizona, and a member of the Board of Directors and immediate past-President of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance — is one of the leaders of the ovarian cancer movement and a national voice for women’s health.

Mattern in 2003 published her book, Outside the Lines of Love, Life, and Cancer, and has shared her story nationwide at numerous health events. Mattern has instituted the Survivors Teaching Students program with the University of Arizona School of Medicine, educating future doctors about implications of misdiagnosis, and led efforts to educate Congress about the needs of ovarian cancer survivors and fight for federal funding for ovarian cancer research.

All proceeds from Tea for Teal will benefit research led by TGen’s Dr. Cunliffe, whose team of scientists seek to develop reliable tests in 3 areas of clinical unmet need:

  • 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.

Tea for Teal includes a champagne reception, a silent auction, a purse auction, raffle, and fashion marketplace. The full English tea service includes an assortment of finger sandwiches, fresh baked scones, and petite desserts.

Individual tickets for the tea are $60; a table for 10 is $500. To register, please visit

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About The Anne Rita Monahan (ARM) Foundation
The ARM Foundation was established by its namesake, a heroic ovarian cancer fighter, to pursue her vision of warning other women against the disease. Because the disease is often difficult to detect, The Anne Rita Monahan Foundation is dedicated to educating and raising awareness of these signs and symptoms 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, visit:

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit:

Press Contacts:

Jennifer Graves, President
The ARM Foundation

Rachel Brockway, Event Chair, Tea for Teal
The ARM Foundation

Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer


Posted in AZBio News.