The PLGA Fund at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation fuels the most promising pediatric low-grade glioma and astrocytoma research in addition to  equipping, educating and empowering PLGG/PLGA families with resources and a community so that they can thrive.

Following the merger of A Kids’ Brain Tumor Cure with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation in 2018, the PLGA Fund at PBTF continues AKBTC’s work in funding research that will lead to non-toxic, more effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure. The research strategy for the PLGA Fund at PBTF is guided by six members of the PBTF’s Research Advisory Network and two internal scientific advisors.


PLGG/PLGA Research We Fund

For more than a decade, the PLGA Fund at PBTF’s support has provided seed funding to researchers around the world. These projects have not only resulted in new targeted therapies being used in the clinics today, but have also enabled scientists to apply and win multi-million-dollar grants from the National Cancer Institute, resulting in multiple clinical trials that are shaping the direction for targeted therapies.

Our PLGA Research Strategy Supports Projects in the Areas of Basic and Translational Science, Clinical Trials and Education

View a complete listing of PLGA Fund's basic and translational research projects and  clinical trials.

Apply for a PLGA Fund Research Grant

The PLGA Fund at PBTF accepts PLGG/PLGA research grant proposals on a rolling basis. Projects may vary in length from 1 – 3 years.  Novel concepts/hypotheses are encouraged and a premium is given to projects which involve collaboration between institutions and investigators. Eligible projects include basic science, translational and clinical trial initiatives as well as survivorship/outcomes studies. 

Learn More

Support for PLGG/PLGA Families

Find the Resources and Community You Need

No family should have to face a child’s brain tumor diagnosis alone. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation provides emotional support, resources, and information to help families navigate their journey. Learn more about our family support resources. If your child has been diagnosed with a PLGG/PLGA tumor, we also participate in and invite you to connect with other families in our Pediatric Low Grade Glioma Facebook Group.

Make a Difference for Families Like Yours

The PLGA Fund at PBTF is accelerating the efforts of researchers at top institutions around the globe to find more effective, less toxic treatments. This research is made possible by the generosity of fundraisers, donors, and community events across the country. Email us at [email protected] if you would like to learn more about supporting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s PLGA Fund.

PLGA Fund Internal Scientific Advisors

The PLGA Fund at PBTF’s internal advisors harken from the scientific field and volunteer their leadership in helping shape the overall prioritized agenda for investing in PLGA science across the world.

Evan Hecker, Ph.D., Ikena Oncology

Evan Hecker, Ph.D. is currently the Senior Vice President and Head of CMC at Ikena Oncology. Prior to joining Ikena, he held roles of increasing responsibility in manufacturing and development at Spero Therapeutics and was the Director of Process Chemistry at Karyopharm Therapeutics where he led API development across their oncology portfolio. Evan started his career in drug development at Cubist Pharmaceuticals after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He received his B.S. in chemistry from The College of New Jersey and worked briefly in the pharmaceutical industry before returning to school to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife Cara have three very active young boys, and Evan has supported the mission of A Kid’s Brain Tumor Cure and now the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation since his eldest son, Nathan, was diagnosed with a low-grade tumor at 4 years old. He is eager to help leverage his drug industry experience and network to accelerate any and all research the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation supports and is committed to finding better drugs and outcomes for kids with brain tumors.

Cory Johannessen, Ph.D., Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research

Cory Johannessen, Ph.D. is the Global Co-Leader of Oncology Innovative Targets and Technologies (IT&T) at the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research in Cambridge MA. In this role, Cory supports novel target and biology discovery for oncology indications, as well technology development in service of target discovery and validation.

Prior to taking this leadership role, Cory led a research lab focused on understanding the genetic underpinnings of drug resistance and identifying drug combinations that prevent it in the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute. There, Cory’s deeply collaborative research team helped develop and apply functional-genetic tools for biological discovery, including next-generation barcoding libraries, saturation mutagenesis techniques and genome-scale ORF/cDNA libraries.

Prior to starting his lab at the Broad, Cory completed his postdoc at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Levi Garraway’s lab from 2008-2011, and was an Instructor of Medicine from 2011-2014, concentrating on understanding mechanisms of resistance to RAF, MEK and ERK inhibitors in BRAF-mutant melanoma. Cory completed his dissertation in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (Ph.D.) Program at Harvard Medical School with Karen Cichowski, focusing on identifying rational, targeted therapeutics for the cancer syndrome neurofibromatosis type I (NF1). Before beginning graduate school, Cory was a technician in Leif Ellison’s lab at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.