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Friends of T.J. present $50,000 gift for ongoing rhabdomyosarcoma research

Friends of T.J. FoundationWatson School of Biological Sciences student Martyna Sroka, Associate Professor Christoper Vakoc of CSHL, and Tom and Nancy Arcati from the Friends of T.J. Foundation. (click to enlarge)

Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. — On November 1st, The Friends of T.J. Foundation presented CSHL Associate Professor Chris Vakoc with a check for $50,000 for his ongoing rhabdomysarcoma (RMS) research. Dr. Vakoc heads the RMS research initiative at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The Friends of T.J. Foundation is one of a group of local funders dedicated to finding better treatments and ultimately a cure for RMS and other sarcomas, as part of CSHL’s Sarcoma Research Project. Watson School of Biological Sciences graduate student Martyna Sroka, who is working with Vakoc on the project, was also present during the presentation of the funding.

Martyna SrokaWatson School of Biological Sciences student Martyna Sroka working in Vakoc lab. (click to enlarge)Using cutting-edge molecular biology, Vakoc’s team is pinpointing genetic weaknesses within RMS cells. His strategy has already been successful in developing a new drug candidate for AML (acute myeloid leukemia), now in clinical trials.

The Friends of T.J. Foundation was founded by T.J. Arcati and his friends in 2009, when T.J. received his diagnosis. T.J. tragically lost his battle with RMS in 2013. The Friends of T.J. Foundation continues to work to increase sarcoma research, improve treatment, and aid in the goal of finding a cure. For more information, visit

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit

Written by: Sara Roncero-Menendez, Communications Associate | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 516-367-8455