Kendra Maass receives 2022 CERN Robert Connor Dawes Scientific Fellowship Award

We’re thrilled to announce the recipient of the 2022 Robert Connor Dawes Foundation CERN Fellowship – Dr Kendra Maass, scientist at the Hopp Children’s Tumor Center Heidelberg (KiTZ) and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

Maass’ project focuses on the cellular transport pathways in which Ependymoma cancer cells can spread via the blood to other sites in the body. By better understanding and characterising the role of extracellular vesicles in Ependymoma metastases, Dr Maass hopes to identify points in the transport pathway which can be targeted to stop the spread of the cancerous cells. She will also apply the new knowledge to evaluate if these ependymoma specific transport vesicles can be used to improve diagnosis specificity using molecular markers to subgroup ependymomas and separately if they offer any prognostic value as a surrogate marker.

This work is so important for the paediatric ependymoma community as there still remains no effective, targeted treatment in the clinic. It is a new approach, and we can’t wait to see what it produces.

Liz Dawes says the fellowship was created to support training opportunities for scientists working in ependymoma (the type of brain tumour Connor had), with the goal of advancing the science in this area and to encourage paediatric ependymoma research.

“I was first introduced to CERN during Connor’s treatment and was in awe of the work they were doing to fight ependymoma,” she says.

“Since then we’ve had a fantastic working relationship and I’m very proud of the work we’ve been able to do together.

“I recognised a long time ago that a cure won’t come from one lab or even one country. We need as many brains as possible working together to fight this disease and that’s why global collaborations like this are so important.”

The CERN Robert Connor Dawes Fellowship is an international open competitive grant. The US$100K grant over two years is administered through the National Brain Tumour Society. It is intended to advance research into childhood ependymoma. The Robert Connor Dawes Foundation proudly partners with the CERN Foundation to co-fund this grant and warmly congratulates Dr Maass on her success in securing the 2022 grant.

About CERN
Established in 2006, CERN is a major non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of those affected with ependymoma, a rare type of primary brain or spinal cord tumour that occurs in both adults and children.

The CERN Foundation continues to advance ependymoma research by supporting scientific fellowships, clinical trials, sponsoring professional conferences and symposiums, and investigating risk factors for the disease.