MDS Research Fund Description

To advance the understanding and treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) and related blood disorders (such as MDS/myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) overlap syndromes, secondary acute myeloid leukemia following MDS, idiopathic cytopenia of undetermined significance (ICUS), or clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP)), the foundation established the MDS Research Fund (MDSRF). The Foundation will not support research proposals addressing aspects relevant to de novo AML or MPN. This fund continues the work that Joseph Dresner initiated with his seminal gift to establish the Joseph Dresner Family Clinic for Hematologic Malignancies & Stem Cell Transplantation at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. The fund will expand 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.

Purpose and Focus

The fund will facilitate the advancement of innovative basic science, translational or clinical research.

Who is Eligible

The foundation will consider proposals from individuals at university, college, hospital, or laboratory institutions for support of research in MDS or related disorders.  The foundation will accept proposals of two types:

  • Early Career Awards: An eligible investigator is someone who has completed their terminal doctoral degree (PhD, MD, or equivalent) or end of post-graduate clinical training (fellowship), whichever date is later, within the past 10 years and who has not yet secured independent funding in the form of an NIH R01 or equivalent (a single award of $200,000/year or more). Instructor or equivalent positions will not be considered as part of the terminal degree.
  • Established Investigator Awards: Eligible investigators who don’t qualify as Early Career investigators, or applicants who have previously received an Early Career Award from the Foundation.

Please note that current grantees-investigators are not eligible to apply or serve as co-investigators in another application to the Foundation (non-funded advisory roles are allowed).

Application and Review

The foundation will oversee the administration of the fund and application process. Applications will be reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Board with broad expertise in MDS. The MDS Research Fund Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of the following individuals:

  • Maria Figueroa, MD – MDS Research Fund SAB Chair, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine – Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Elizabeth A. Griffiths, MD, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Michael R. Savona, MD, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Bart Scott, MD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Daniel Starczynowski, PhD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • Ulrich Steidl, MD, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine – Montefiore Health System

Calls for proposals will be announced on the foundation’s website.

Type of Support
  • Well-developed research projects that will produce definitive findings about the biology, translational, or clinical aspects of MDS and related disorders and (for Early Career Awards) will lead to subsequent, higher-level funding.
    • Early Career Awards will provide funding of up to $125,000 per year for two years.
    • Established Investigator Awards will provide funding of up to $250,000 per year for two years.
  • A total of 3 new grants will be awarded (2 Early Career Awards and 1 Established Investigator Award) annually.


  • Research must be directly relevant to MDS or related conditions.
  • Research cannot already be partially or fully funded.
  • Overhead cost (in-directs) may not exceed 15% of direct project costs.
  • All research awards are contingent upon acceptance of the Research Grant Agreement terms.
  • If awarded, investigators must remain at their respective institutions for the first year of the grant period.

Review our MDSRF application guidelines