Category Archives: News

The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Welcomes Erin Marie McDonald

The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation introduces Erin Marie McDonald as the Grant and Program Associate. In this position, Ms. McDonald will support all aspects of grantmaking including partnering with grantees and sourcing new opportunities.

Erin Marie most recently served as a senior grant coordinator with Henry Ford Health System. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI.

Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Invites Letters of Inquiry for 2019 Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Research Fund

This national funding initiative expands the Foundation’s investments in support of cutting-edge MDS research and related programs that will lead to the future standards of care and ultimately cure, by facilitating the advancement of innovative basic science, translational or clinical research.

Early Career Awards will provide funding of up to $125,000 per year for two years and Established Investigator Awards will provide funding of up to $250,000 per year for two years.

Letters of Inquiry (LOI) from 501(c) (3) institutions must be received no later than Friday, March 22, 2019 (5 pm EDT). The LOI must be submitted via the online MDSRF grant application on the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation website MDS Research Fund. Full proposals are by invitation only.

Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Announces 2018 Myelodysplastic Syndrome Research Fund Grant Recipients

The Dresner Foundation is proud to announce its second annual Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) Research Fund grant recipients. Grants were awarded to H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, the Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Rochester. These grants totaling $1,074,469 support the research of two early career investigators and one established career investigator. The principle goal of the research fund is to support cutting-edge MDS research and related programs that will lead to the future standards of care and ultimately, a cure.

“These grants will support research into how MDS arises, and the development of new, innovative treatment strategies that target genetic abnormalities common in MDS, with a goal of eliminating these debilitating diseases” said Dr. Mikkael A. Sekeres of Cleveland Clinic and Chair, MDS Research Fund Scientific Advisory Board. Virginia Romano, the Foundation’s Executive Director said, “we are pleased to continue to support national, leading-edge MDS research.”

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Center received a grant to support the early career work of Dr. David A. Sallman. Dr. Sallman will be working closely with his mentor Dr. Alan List. The goal of the research project is to (1) establish TP53 gene as a predictor of outcomes for patients with this mutation; and (2) to identify the underlying reasons why TP53 mutant patients frequently have poor responses to treatments.

The second grant was awarded to Dr. Valeria Visconte, Ph.D., through The Cleveland Clinic. She will be conducting her research with her mentor Dr. Jaroslaw P. Maciejewski. The researchers believe that repairing the defective function caused by mutations will be the strategy of the future to treat MDS. The goal of their project is to further improve a novel chemical they have identified as a potential drug and test whether it will be effective as a future therapy for MDS patients with SF3B1 mutations.

The University of Rochester was awarded a grant to support Dr. Michael Becker, an established investigator. New research indicates that the bone marrow microenvironment (BMME), exerts a powerful influence on how normal blood cell formation occurs as well as on how blood cancers develop and progress. Dr. Becker’s research will attempt to confirm the role of the interleukin-1 gene in the BMME as a predictor for development and progression of MDS.

The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation congratulates the grantees and looks forward to seeing important progress in the fight against MDS.

Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Invites Letters of inquiry for Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Research Fund

This national funding initiative expands the Foundation’s investments in support of cutting-edge MDS research and related programs that will lead to the future standards of care and ultimately cure, by facilitating the advancement of innovative basic science, translational or clinical research.

Early Career Awards will provide funding of up to $125,000 per year for two years and Established Investigator Awards will provide funding of up to $250,000 per year for two years.

Letters of Inquiry (LOI) from 501(c) (3) institutions must be received no later than Friday, March 30, 2018 (5 pm EDT). The LOI must be submitted via the online MDS grant application on the Dresner Foundation website MDSRF Guidelines. Full proposals are by invitation only.

Dresner Foundation Announces 2017 Myelodysplastic Syndrome Research Fund Grant Recipients

The Dresner Foundation is proud to announce its inaugural Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) Research Fund grant recipients.  One grant was awarded to Memorial Sloan Kettering and two were awarded to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  These grants totaling $1,075,000 support the research of two early career investigators and one established career investigator.  The principle goal of the research fund is to support cutting-edge MDS research and related programs that will lead to the future standards of care and ultimate cure.

“Joseph Dresner’s struggle with MDS motivated him to help physician researchers find a cure for this disease, and improve the quality of life of others with MDS,” said Dr. Mikkael A. Sekeres of Cleveland Clinic and Chair, MDS Research Fund Scientific Advisory Board. Mr. Dresner’s daughter, and President of the Dresner Foundation said, “My father would be pleased to see that his legacy is helping to fund the best that investigative MDS research scientists and medical institutions have to offer.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering was awarded a grant to support Dr. Stephen Chung’s research titled The Clinical Impact of MDS Stem Cells in Patients Undergoing Allogeneic Transplant.  He will conduct this research with the support of his mentor Dr. Ross Levine to help deeply examine the effectiveness of bone marrow transplant (BMT), the only known cure for MDS.  Their studies will provide new insights into how MDS stem cells resist eradication by BMT and may lead to new diagnostic tests that can identify patients at the highest risk for relapse who may benefit from novel post-BMT therapies.

Dana Farber Cancer Institute received a grant to support the research of Dr. Coleman Lindsley titled The Impact of Somatic STAG2 Mutations on MDS Transformation in GATA2 Deficiency Syndrome.  With the aid of his mentor, Dr. Benjamin Ebert, Dr. Lindsley will study the reasons why different mutations cooperate to cause MDS with the aim to help create a more reliable method to identify the youth with GATA2 most at risk for developing MDS.  In the future, the results of this study may inform the prognosis and choice of treatment for MDS patients, and drive development of better therapies.

The third grant was awarded to Dana Farber Cancer Institute for established researcher Dr. Gregory Abel’s, research titled A New Paradigm of Transfusion Support for Patients with Myelodysplastic Syndromes.  His research takes a novel approach in MDS research and suggests that the key question is not whether transfusions improve quality of life (QOL), but how to tailor transfusion decisions to the QOL changes experienced by individual patients.

Dresner Foundation Announces Strategic Reorganization

The Dresner Foundation announced that Virginia Romano has been appointed Executive Director.

Ms. Romano joined the Foundation in 2014. She has since served as the Managing Director of Programs.

The Foundation’s Board of Directors stated, “after thoughtful consideration, the decision to promote Virginia to executive director was due to her unique combination of extensive experience and knowledge of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.”

The Foundation also announced that board member Kevin Furlong will serve as the Board of Directors’ Chair, as well as, the Foundation’s Chief Financial Officer.

Health Research

We are in the process of creating a new MDS research fund that will foster out-of-the-box thinking and actively embrace and support innovation in the field of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). An update will be posted when the Foundation begins to accept requests for this fund.

Dresner Foundation Soul Studio – Grand Opening

The Dresner Soul Studio grand opening was held on May 9, 2016. The Soul Studio provides young adults with special needs an opportunity to express themselves creatively through various artistic forms.

Michigan Humane Society Dresner Foundation Animal Care Campus – Dedication

The MHS Dresner Foundation Animal Care Campus was dedicated on May 19, 2016. The Care Campus offers progressive animal care and housing, an expanded veterinary center, a new home for the MHS Cruelty Investigation and Rescue Department, dedicated canine and feline rehabilitation areas and secure and spacious shelter dog play yards.

Exponent Philanthropy Hall of Outsized Impact

Our Grant to the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program was selected for highlight in the Hall of Outsized Impact at the recent Exponet Philanthropy Conference in Chicago, IL. Click here to see the rest of the highlighted grants!

Impact Poster