Dr. Melissa Davis

Global Team Led by MSM Researcher Dr. Melissa Davis Shortlisted for Cancer Grand Challenges

Team SAMBAI advances to final stage of funding award, aiming to tackle cancer inequities.

ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 5, 2023 (MSM) proudly announces that an interdisciplinary, global team led by Melissa B. Davis, PhD, director of the forthcoming MSM Institute of Translational Genomic Medicine, has been selected for the final stages of . (Societal, Ancestry, Molecular and Biological Analyses of Inequalities) now has a chance of receiving up to $25 million to make radical progress against one of cancer’s toughest challenges.

In March, Cancer Grand Challenges announced , with 178 world-class global teams submitting bold ideas to take them on. Team SAMBAI is one of 12 of those shortlisted. The team draws together a unique set of expertise and unites researchers from the United States, Ghana, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

"This unprecedented opportunity brings the unwavering support of major academic centers in partnership with minority-serving institutions, which will inherently provide a synergistic push in cancer disparities and equity research," Dr. Davis said. "By aiding with capacity-building, we will be solving the issues while we study the issues and that has been the greatest challenge in cancer inequities."

Team SAMBAI will now receive seed funding of roughly $38,000 to draft their full research proposal and compete for up to $25 million in funding, empowering them to rise above the traditional boundaries of geography and discipline to ultimately change outcomes for people with cancer.

If successful, Team SAMBAI would seek to tackle the challenge of , with the aim of creating an unprecedented resource to define the factors that cause and influence disparate outcomes in diverse underserved populations. The final list of funded teams will be announced in March 2024.

"We had a fantastic response from the global research community who rose to the task and submitted bold and innovative ideas to take on our new challenges," said Cancer Grand Challenges Director Dr. David Scott. "We are pleased to have a shortlist of 12 teams whose proposed research approaches we believe hold the greatest potential to make the progress against these cancer challenges that we urgently need. I'm looking forward to seeing how the teams develop their approaches further in their full applications."

To learn more about Team SAMBAI and the Cancer Inequities challenge, .

More details on Cancer Grand Challenges are available at .

For more information about , please visit MSM.edu.


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About Grand Challenges

Co-founded in 2020 by two of the largest funders of cancer research in the world: Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute in the US, Cancer Grand Challenges supports a global community of world-class, interdisciplinary teams to come together, think differently and take on some of cancer’s toughest challenges. These are the obstacles that continue to impede progress and no one scientist, institution or country will be able to solve them alone. With awards of up to $25M, Cancer Grand Challenges teams are empowered to rise above the traditional boundaries of geography and discipline to make the progress against cancer we urgently need.


Jamille Bradfield