Million Dollar Bike Ride

We are thrilled to let our community know the 2023 Million Dollar Bike Ride Pilot Grant Program is officially open! This grant program provides a one‐year, $63,000 grant to investigators conducting research on Telomere Biology Disorders. We strongly encourage all members of our medical / scientific community to review the RFA Guidelines and consider applying. Letters of Interest (LOIs) are due no later than Friday, September 15, 2023.

Million Dollar Bike Ride T-Shirt Design

Team Telomere’s MDBR T-shirt is designed with our community in mind. Each name represents someone that is a part of a chain of hope. The names in blue are those that have left us too early, the names in black are those individuals still fighting.


Team Telomere’s MDBR Team started as Team Josh’s DCO Riders 2015, in honor of Joshua Friedman. Josh passed away in 2011 from Dyskeratosis Congenita (DC), a telomere biology disorder. Josh lived a full and beautiful life and touched many people throughout.

Josh’s lasting legacy is a gift to our community as his story has helped raise over $450,000 in research.

We partnered with Penn’s Orphan Disease Center in 2014, to excel our ability to fund quality science for Telomere Biology Disorders. To date we have raised over $450,000. Our Team Captain is Mayra Garcia who is available to answer any questions you may have. Our goal this year is to raise $30k that will be matched dollar for dollar by the Orphan Disease Center.

Start a Fundraiser

We want to help you be an active part of Team Telomere. Our newly designed fundraising page is user-friendly and allows you to create your team and raise funds virtually from anywhere in the world!

Inspire yourself to set up your fundraising campaigns from peloton rides, virtual yoga classes, 5K runs, and much more! Create a unique team page in minutes, ask for donations, and share with family and friends on social media to help raise funds for research!

We ask our community to rally their friends, family, and networks to support our work. Creating a fundraiser for Team Telomere will help our community move forward with our mission, and you’ll help your friends feel good about doing good. Starting a fundraiser is easy to do, and it’s fun. We’ll even give you all the tools you need to make a difference.

2022 Team Telomere Million Dollar Bike Ride Grant

Project Title: Using TERT variant-to-function analysis to define cryptic telomere biology disorders in sporadic cancers

Principal Investigator: Dr. Coleman Lindsley, from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Amount Awarded: $62,528

Lay Summary: Impaired telomere maintenance is linked to development of cancer. Inherited mutations affecting telomerase cause short telomeres in all tissues and an increased risk of specific cancers. The goal of this proposal is to define the spectrum and functional impact of inherited TERT mutations in adults with cancer and analyze associations with clinical outcomes. To achieve this goal, we have assembled a cohort of 40,000 adult patients with various cancers, will identify TERT variants in existing DNA sequencing data, and perform comprehensive functional interrogation of cancer-associated TERT variants to define their effects on telomerase function.

2021 Team Telomere Million Dollar Bike Ride Grant

Project Title: Targeting shelterin in telomere diseases

Principal Investigator: Dr. Suneet Agarwal, MD, PhD – Boston Children’s Hospital

Amount Awarded: $65,445

Lay Summary:
Dyskeratosis congenita (DC) is one of a spectrum of telomere biology disorders (TBDs) that affect multiple parts of the body in people of all ages. Although it is now clear that mutations impairing telomere maintenance underlie DC/TBDs, in many cases the precise mechanisms by which these mutations cause disease are not known. As importantly, how to overcome these defects to restore telomere length throughout the body remains a major challenge. In recent work, we have used cells donated by individuals affected by DC/TBDs to understand how mutations in genes encoding the telomere cap proteins, called shelterin, cause disease. In the process, we have gained new insights on how to alter telomere length in human cells. Under this award, we will test these new strategies in cells that carry a wide range of mutations that cause DC/TBDs. The overall goal of the research is to gather the evidence required to develop new small molecule therapies that apply to a broad range of genetic causes of DC/TBDs. The research to be conducted under the 2021 Team Telomere Million Dollar Bike Ride Award thereby seeks to provide a deeper understanding of disease mechanisms in DC/TBDs, and to advance novel therapeutic strategies. The Agarwal Lab is extremely grateful to the Team Telomere community and the Penn Orphan Disease Center for supporting this research.

In six years, the MDBR’s 30+ teams have raised over $10 million to fund rare disease research grants. These research grants have had a huge impact on our Team Telomere Community. Keep reading to learn about past research grants.