"Mission statement for
The Michelle Paternoster Foundation"

The Michelle Paternoster Foundation was established in 2014 after Michelle lost her twelve year battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma, on June 23rd, 2013 at the age of 34. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a deadly form of sarcoma cancer that affects children and young adults and is non responsive to chemotherapy. Therefore, once it becomes metastatic, it is considered incurable with existing treatment protocols.

Genetic research

The Michelle Paternoster Foundation has partnered with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, to assist in finding a cure to this fatal disease through genetic research.

The research team led by Professor Christopher Vakoc at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has made important progress in its goal of developing targeted therapies for rhabdomyosarcoma. In a project led by PhD student Martyna Sroka, a key discovery has been made that can allow for the ‘conversion’ of rhabdomyosarcoma tumor cells into normal muscle. Importantly, this technology is high-throughput, which means that Martyna can now test thousands of conditions in a single experiment, thereby allowing for the identification of novel drug targets with unprecedented bandwidth.

Dr. Cristian Lopez-Cleary

A project led by MD/PhD student Cristian Lopez-Cleary is honing-in on a compelling new vulnerability in sarcoma, called MyoD. He is trying to develop novel therapies that can exploit MyoD as an Achilles heel of this tumor.

Dr. Toyoki Yoshimoto

A project led by Toyoki Yoshimoto, MD/PhD, a board certified sarcoma pathologist from Japan, is discovering novel drug cocktails with improved activity over existing chemotherapies. His approach takes advantage of advances in the field of EPIGENETICS and in GENOME EDITING, which includes technology for effective gene control using chemical-genetic perturbations. In addition to discoveries in their own laboratory, the research team has participated in numerous collaborations with other scientists in the sarcoma field, which includes the announcement of several novel drug targets in this disease and movement of novel drug candidates into the clinic.

New for 2021 the Michelle Paternoster foundation has partnered with the Children’s Hospital Of Pittsburgh to lend support at the clinical level.

The board

Meet the executive members who are responsible for the foundation.

Paul Paternoster


Scott Paternoster


Clark Gillies

Board member

Jim Rogers

Board member

Jim McCormack

Board member

Duke Paternoster

Jr. Board Member

Registered 501(c) (3)
nonprofit organization

All donations to the Michelle Paternoster
Foundation are tax deductible

Section 501(c)(3) is the portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, specifically those that are considered public charities, private foundations or private operating foundations. It is regulated and administered by the US Department of Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service.
There are other 501(c) organizations, indicated by categories 501(c)(1) – 501(c (29). This discussion will focus on 501(c)(3).