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Pilot & Feasibility Program

The P/F Application Process Takes Place In Three Phases:

  1. Letter of Intent that includes information on eligibility, current and pending funding, and a brief synopsis of the research plan;
  2. Submission of a 5-page proposal in modified NIH format (Specific Aims, Background and Significance, Preliminary Results, Experimental Approach, Potential Pitfalls, Alternative Approaches and Future Plans) as well as a budget that addresses potential overlap;
  3. Review by the Executive Committee and selected outside reviewers with the assistance and final approval of the External Advisory Committee.  

2014 application deadlines

Monday, March 17, 2014 Letters of Intent due by noon 

Monday, May 12, 2014 P/F Proposals Due by noon 

Week of July 7, 2014 P/F Awardees Notified

On or around December 1, 2014 P/F Award Year begins

You can direct inquiries to: Alan R. Shuldiner, M.D. , Director, Mid-Atlantic NORC or to our Program Manager, Sara Sturgess. 

Grants of up to $25,000 (direct costs) will be awarded (with no more than $5,000 going towards salary support for the PI or Co-I).  Eligibility for a second year of funding will be considered after submission of a progress report and plans for the second year.  The letter of intent will be used to establish the eligibility of the investigator for P/F funding.  Current awardees seeking a 2nd year of funding should also submit a letter of intent. 

Priority For Funding Goes To:

  1. new investigators collecting preliminary data for a NIH submission;
  2. established investigators seeking to apply their expertise to the obesity or related nutrition field (a significant departure from their current work);
  3. established investigators in the obesity field seeking funding for a new avenue of research (including high risk/high gain category).

Eligibility for P/F Funding:  New investigator applicants must have a doctoral degree and at least two and preferably three or more years of post-doctoral experience.  New investigators should be planning to embark on independent research career. If an investigator does not hold a faculty position at his/her institution, then a strong letter of support from the investigator's Department Chair must be attached to the Letter of Intent, stating that the department plans to promote the investigator to a faculty position within the next 1-2 years. 

The aim of the P/F project is to provide convincing data for future proposals to the NIH or other national agencies.  Investigators are encouraged to undertake high risk/high gain projects that have potential to develop but for which no preliminary data/feasibility are currently available.  Nevertheless, the capability of the PI (and his or her collaborators) to undertake such a project should be clearly outlined. 

All applicants must be willing to actively participate in Mid-Atlantic NORC Center activities, including seminars, workshops, and symposia, and to present a seminar describing their work. 

It is acceptable to submit a project that is currently under review elsewhere; however, future funding by another agency for the same project will preclude Mid-Atlantic NORC funding.  

P/F projects are strongly encouraged to take advantage of our proposed Core laboratories:

  1. Administrative Core, including the Biostatistics and Medical Informatics (BMI) Subcore 
  2. Clinical and Translational Research (CTR) Core 
  3. Adipose Biology and Basic Mechanisms (ABBM) Core 
  4. Molecular Genetics and Nutrigenomics (MGN) Core 

2013-2014 P&F Awardees

Norann A. Zaghloul, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nutrition, UMSOM. "Functional annotation of type 2 diabetes associated loci." (2nd year funding)

Teodor T. Postolache, MD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UMSOM.  "Association between obesity and chronic latent Toxoplasma gondii infection in the Old Order Amish."

Abdel R. A. Hamad, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Johns Hopkins University. "A novel syndecan-1-expressing iNKT cells regulate body fat."

Neeraj K. Saxena, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, UMSOM.  "Resolution of hepatic steatosis and prevention of obesity-related liver tumorigenesis."

Amber L. Beitelshees, PharmD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nutrition, UMSOM. "NELL1: A paracrine regulator or visceral adiposity." (2nd year funding)

2012-2013 P&F Awardees

Norann A. Zaghloul, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nutrition, UMSOM. "Functional annotation of type 2 diabetes associated loci."

Amber L. Beitelshees, PharmD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nutrition, UMSOM.  "NELL1:  A paracrine regulator or visceral adiposity."

Kristen Hurley, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UMSOM. "Weight Gain Trajectories During the First 5 Years of Life in a National Cohort."

Kavita Bhalla, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Marlene & Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Cener, UMSOM.  "The role of AFC in linking inflammation and type II diabetes."

Zhiyong Guo, MD, PhD, Research Associate, Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, UMSOM.  "Preliminary Study of Novel AR Variants in Adipose Tissue."

2011-2012 P&F Awardees

Alexis Gorden, M.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, UMSOM. "Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms That Associate with Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease." (2nd year funding)

Nisa M. Maruthur, M.D., M.H.S., Assistant Professor, Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine; JHU. "Effect of Zinc on Insulin Secretion by SLC30A8 Genotype."

Sarah Netzel-Arnett, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, UMSOM.  "Regulation of Adipogenic Differentiation by Serpins."

Christopher D'Adamo, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, UMSOM and Patrick McArdle, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nutrition, UMSOM. Genetic Predictors of Serum Micronutrient Concentrations in the Old Order Amish."

2010-2011 P&F Awardees

Stephen J. Prior, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, UMB. "EPCs as an emerging mediator of exercise-induced improvements in obesity and insulin resistance."

Alexis Gorden, M.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, UMB.  "Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms That Associate with Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease."

Emmanuel F. Mongodin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Institute for Genome Sciences; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UMB.  "Stability of the Gut Microbiome Following a Dietary Intervention."

Nisa M. Maruthur, M.D., M.H.S., Assistant Professor, Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine; JHU.  "Effect of Zinc on Insulin Secretion by SLC30A8 Genotype."

Michael Crow, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Director, Basic & Translational Research, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care, JHU. "The Role of Nutrition in Acute Lung Injury-Associated Skeletal Muscle Wasting" (2nd year funding)

Erin Hager, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Growth and Nutrition Division, Department of Pediatrics, UMB. "Determining Actical Thresholds for Ankle Accelerometry among Adolescent Girls" (2nd year funding)

Antonio Passaniti, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pathology, UMB. "RUNX2 as a new molecular biomarker involved in the regulation of normal angiogenesis, possibly altered with the acquisition of diabetic vascular complications" (2nd year funding)

Hong Wang, Ph.D., Post Doctoral Fellow,Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB. "Role of LSDP5, a lipid droplet surface associated protein in regulating cardiac myocytes β-oxidation" (2nd year funding)

Yan Wang, M.D., Dr.P.H., Epidemiologist/Data Analyst, Division of Growth and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, UMB. "Is the relationship between depressive symptoms and obesity explained by physical activity and diet? A prospective study among African American adolescents" (2nd year funding)

2009-2010 P&F Awardees

Michael Crow, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Director, Basic & Translational Research, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care, JHU. "The Role of Nutrition in Acute Lung Injury-Associated Skeletal Muscle Wasting"

Erin Hager, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Growth and Nutrition Division
Department of Pediatrics, UMB. "Determining Actical Thresholds for Ankle Accelerometry among Adolescent Girls"

Anjeli Inscore, PsyD., Research Associate, Division of Gerontology,UMB. "Yoga to Improve Psychological and Neuroendocrine Function and Promote Weight Loss in Obesity"

Laundette Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, UMB. "Is BRCA1 a novel regulator of adipocity and energy balance?"

Antonio Passaniti, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pathology, UMB. "RUNX2 as a new molecular biomarker involved in the regulation of normal angiogenesis, possibly altered with the acquisition of diabetic vascular complications"

Kellie Tamashiro, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, JHU.  "Epigenetic mechanisms for altered energy homeostasis in offspring produced by assisted reproductive techniques" (2nd year funding)

Hong Wang, Ph.D., Post Doctoral Fellow,Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB. "Role of LSDP5, a lipid droplet surface associated protein in regulating cardiac myocytes β-oxidation"

Yan Wang, M.D., Dr.P.H., Epidemiologist/Data Analyst, Division of Growth and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, UMB. "Is the relationship between depressive symptoms and obesity explained by physical activity and diet? A prospective study among African American adolescents"

2008-2009 P&F Awardees

Susan Aja, Ph.D., Asst. Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, JHU. "Regulation of Systemic Energy Balance by AMP-activated Protein Kinase in Select Hypothalamic Nuclei"

Christy Chang, Ph.D., Asst. Professor, Medicine & Epidemiology, UMB. "The relationship between STK39 genotypes, salt sensitivity, HCTZ-induced BP response"

Coleen Damcott, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nutrition, UMB.  "Effects of Genetic Variation in Genes Involved in the
Lipolytic Pathway on Triglyceride Metabolism and Type 2 Diabetes Risk" (2nd year funding)

Geoffrey Girnun, Ph.D., Asst. Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, UMB. "Selective activation of PPARg by a structurally distinct new class of ligand"

Kellie Tamashiro, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, JHU.  "Epigenetic mechanisms for altered energy homeostasis in offspring produced by assisted reproductive techniques"

2007-2008 P&F Awardees

Coleen Damcott, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nutrition, UMB.  "Effects of Genetic Variation in Genes Involved in the
Lipolytic Pathway on Triglyceride Metabolism and Type 2 Diabetes Risk"

Mao Fu, Ph.D., M.D.; Research Associate, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB. "Positional cloning of obesity candidate genes in the Old Order Amish" (2nd year funding)

Gloria Hoffman, Ph.D.; Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, UMB.  "Interactions of Sleep Deprivation and Stress: the Deadly Combination?" (2nd year funding)

Mi-Jeong Lee, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB.  "The role of the glucocorticoid receptor in adipose tissue development and function"

Toni Pollin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB.  "Characterizing the role of single gene disorders in 'ordinary' Diabetes Mellitus: translating genetic discoveries to the clinic"

Mark Rizzo, Ph.D., Department of Physiology, UMB.  "Investigation of MODY2 mutations on Glucokinase nitrosylation"

Elizabeth Streeten, M.D.; Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB.  "Clinical and molecular characterization of suspected partial 25-hydroxyvitamin D-1-alpha hydroxylase deficiency" (2nd year funding)

Rongze Yang, M.D., Ph.D.; Research Associate, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB.  "The Role of TORC2 in Adipocyte Differentiation and Lipid Metabolism" (2nd year funding)

2006-2007 P&F Awardees

Mao Fu, Ph.D., M.D.; Research Associate, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB. "Positional cloning of obesity candidate genes in the Old Order Amish"

Gloria Hoffman, Ph.D.; Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, UMB.  "Development of a New Model of Morbidity induced by Intermittent Sleep Deprivation or Sleep Deprivation and Stress"

Richard Horenstein, M.D.; Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB.   "The effect of common variants in the transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) gene on GLP-1 levels in response to a glucose and fat challenge"

Vladimir Savransky, M.D., Ph.D.; Research Associate, Division of  Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, JHU School of Medicine.  " Sleep Apnea and Lipid Metabolism in Obesity" (2nd year funding)

Michael Shapiro, Ph.D.; Associate Professor, UMB School of Pharmacy.  "NMR Metabolomics on PKCI Knockout Mice"

Elizabeth Streeten, M.D.; Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB.  "Clinical and molecular characterization of suspected partial 25-hydroxyvitamin D-1-alpha hydroxylase deficiency"

Rongze Yang, M.D., Ph.D.; Research Associate, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, UMB.  "The Role of TORC2 in Hepatic Gluconeogenesis, Energy Homeostasis and Diabetes"