Susan G. Komen is kicking off Breast Cancer Awareness Month by awarding a $450,000 National Research Grant to the University at Buffalo.

Jun Xia, Ph.D., an assistant in UB’s Biomedical Research Department, will use the $450,000 grant to develop a new screening technology for women with dense breast tissue. This non-invasive imaging technique, called photoacoustic tomography, combines light and ultrasound technology. It has the potential to better identify breast cancer and address an unmet clinical need in these patients.

The grant is part of $30.7 million for 98 research grants Komen is distributing across the country in the coming year, with a focus on new treatments and understanding of the most lethal forms and stages of breast cancer. Komen funding to institutions in 27 states and 7 countries also includes research into new screening technologies, treatments for metastatic and aggressive types of breast cancer and disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

Some of the money raised at Komen’s Western New York Breast Cancer Survivor Luncheon helps to support Komen’s National Research Grants program. The luncheon will be held at 11:00am Saturday, October 7, at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The remaining proceeds support community outreach programs that serve area women and men facing breast cancer. Registration for the Luncheon is open through Tuesday at

“We are so thankful for the friends, family and neighbors who fight alongside us, helping to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the region, both through life-saving local programs, and through research,” said Liz Kahn, Executive Director of Komen Upstate New York.

Since 1997, Komen Upstate New York has contribed $5,285,182 to Komen National Research grants. Komen also has funded $14,758,368 for community programs serving Upstate New York’s women and men since. Over $4 million alone has been spent serving the 8 counties of Western New York.