CTF Young Investigator Award

CTF’s longest running program, YIA provides two-year awards for young scientists early in their careers, bringing them into the NF field and helping to establish them as independent investigators. Implemented over 30 years ago by the Foundation, the YIA program was until 2006 CTF’s sole ongoing grant mechanism. Click here for Applicant Eligibility Guidelines. 

Though a number of YIAs have made significant research findings and made notable publications the main function of the YIA program has been as a ‘seeding mechanism’ for researchers who went on to secure larger grants from NIH and CDMRP NFRP. CTF’s “seeding” of the NF field with new talent has been hailed as a key reason why NF research has grown rapidly in the past 25+ years. Between 2005 and 2008 the YIA program doubled in size from 5 to 10 funded awards (8 postdoctoral and 2 predoctoral). In the same period number of applications submitted increased from 16 (2005) to 34 (2008). The success rate of this program remains extraordinarily high at around 30%. CTF funded 11 YIAs in 2012 and 9 YIAs in 2013 with grants ranging from $64,000 to $108,000 each. The submission window for the Young Investigator Awards opens in January each year. 



Dr. Dipak N. Patil, Scripps Research Institute, Florida
"Understanding the GPCR driven interaction of NF1 with G proteins"

Dr. Aubin Moutal, University of Arizona

Dr. Lei Xing, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
"MAPK/ERK hyperactivation on neural circuit development in NF-1"


Miss Vanessa Merker, Massachusetts General Hospital (The General Hospital Corp)
"Understanding Diagnostic Delay in Schwannomatosis: A Patient-Centered Approach"

Mrs. Marisa Ann Fuse, University of Central Florida Research Foundation, Inc.
"Novel Human Xenograft Mouse Model for Evaluation of PI3K Inhibitors in Neurofibromatosis Type 2-Associated Schwannomas"

Mr. Seyed Mohammad Ebrahim Tahaei, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
"The inhibitory role of EGFR signaling in NF1 Pseudoarthrosis"

The 2016 Young Investigator Award Pre-Application is now closed.
Full applications are due March 25, 2016.

Guidelines and Terms of Award

Young Investigator Awards

Founded in 1978, the Children's Tumor Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to identifying effective drug therapies for neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) and Schwannomatosis, and to improving the lives of those living with these disorders. There is currently no effective drug treatment for any of these disorders (collectively called NF), which affect an estimated 100,000 persons in the US. Since its inception, the Children’s Tumor Foundation has committed over $30 million to research grants and initiatives, supporting scientists around the world to conduct groundbreaking NF research.

Past Recipients


Chung-Ping Liao, PhD., University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center
Tumor microenvironment and stem cell factor contributions in neurofibroma development
Dr. Liao is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Lu Le, at the University of Texas Southwestern.  Dr. Le studied with Dr. Luis Parada there, and has now established his own independent research lab.  His project will use Nf1 mouse models to better understand the cell microenvironment conducive to neurofibroma development, including the role of a growth factor called stem cell factor.  Better knowledge about the influences in the tissue surrounding neurofibroma cells may lead to new therapeutic targets and strategies. 

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Phone: 212-344-6633