Foundation Giving

BUSM and the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation: A growing partnership


For more than 30 years, the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation has generously supported the training of physician-scientists in cancer biology and research at BUSM.

“The continued commitment of the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation in supporting fellows and junior faculty not only provides support for cancer research but also develops the next generation of faculty committed to preventing and treating cancer,” says Dean Karen Antman.

This partnership between the foundation and BUSM has grown over the decades. Today the relationship is multifaceted and includes:

  • Fellowships: From 1979 to 2006, 38 fellowships were awarded to MD-PhD students. Competition is intense, with four applicants applying for every available fellowship. When the foundation established the Grunebaum Chair and Professorship of Cancer Research (see below), BUSM continued the fellowship program with institutional support.
  • Professorship in Cancer Research: In 2002, the foundation established the Karin Grunebaum Professorship in Cancer Research at BUSM with a $2 million endowment. This professorship was established to support a physician/scientist actively engaged in cancer research and in the education of medical and graduate students in cancer research. Douglas Faller, MD, PhD, director of the Cancer Research Center at Boston University Medical Campus, was named the first incumbent in the professorship. Faller—who is also professor of medicine, pediatrics, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, and laboratory medicine at BUSM—has made numerous contributions to the understanding of how cancer emerges and spreads. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles in medical and scientific literature.
  • Junior Faculty Focus: In 2006, the foundation modified its focus, choosing to assist junior faculty members already involved in clinical or translational cancer research, rather than funding student researchers. This represented a major change in direction for the foundation, and grew out of the recognition that medical students’ areas of research interest may change, or that they may choose to pursue careers in clinical practice. Faculty members have already committed themselves to a career in cancer research and therefore stand a greater chance of making an important impact in the area.

In 2007, the first faculty award was given to M. Isabel Dominguez, PhD, assistant professor of hematology/oncology in the Department of Medicine. The current recipient is Julia Yaglom, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry. Yaglom’s work focuses on how Hsp72 regulates DNA damage response in tumor cells.

“The Grunebaum Foundation’s support for cancer research has been an extremely important part of our institutional cancer research program for decades,” says Faller. “Generations of MD-PhD candidates have gone on to have successful careers in cancer research as well as other medical fields, and we are all deeply indebted to the foundation and the Grunebaum family.”