Castilla awarded Alex’s Lemonade Stand Bridge Grant

Cancer biologist seeks therapies for pediatric leukemia

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

January 29, 2013

castilla-lucioUMass Medical School cancer researcher Lucio Castilla, PhD (right), has been awarded a 2013 Bridge Grant from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). The foundation launched Bridge Grants in response to decreasing National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding to support promising projects that did not receive NIH support despite excellent scores.

Dr. Castilla, associate professor of molecular medicine and biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, studies the genetics of leukemia with the goal of identifying targets for drug therapies. He will focus on targeted therapies for children battling acute myeloid leukemia with the 12-month, $100,000 ALSF grant.

After earning his PhD from the University of Michigan, Castilla was a postdoctoral fellow in the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH before joining the Program in Gene Function and Expression at UMMS in 2000. He is a past recipient of a Special Fellow Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and an AACR-Sidney Kimmel Symposium for Cancer Research Scholar Award, and recently completed a five-year term as a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar.

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation bears the name of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004) who, at the age of four, announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation has raised more than $60 million and funded more than 275 research projects grants at nearly 70 institutions in North America.