Within our Center's theme of stem &progenitor cell biology and regenerative medicine, our Pilot Project Program will have two components that seek to enhance separate, yet complementary aspects of our Stem Cell Center's research activities by: (i) fostering projects that are collaborative, muitidisciplinary in scope, engage our junior faculty, provide compelling preliminary data for extramural grant submissions and/or advance the capabilities of our core facilities;(ii) establishing new translational research infrastructure and directions within the Stem Cell Center and the Institute. The first component, designated the Core Pilot Program will distribute $150k/yr in seed monies for high-merit pilot studies. This program (open to all Center and Institute investigators) will enhance mentorship, aid junior investigators, and stimulate collaborative, innovative science and enhance the value of our existing COBRE core facilities. The selection of funded projects will be based on scientific merit and prioritized using the following criteria: a] Projects should be collaborative, with a co-investigator structure that enhances scientific interactions, b] When feasible, one co applicant should be a junior investigator, c] To enhance multi-disciplinary research projects, applicants may partner with colleagues at MMCRI and/or external collaborators with expertise from other IDeA institutions, d] Aims must be sharply focused, relate to Center goals, and lead to new technologies or methodological advances as related to core facilities, e] Projects should have a budget of -$50,000, well-defined milestones, and be accomplished within 1-year, f] For projects that utilize human subjects and/or vertebrate animals, prior investigator training and institutional IRB or lACUC approval is required. The second, or Translational Pilot Program component will focus sharply on enhancing the capabilities of our Center and Institute to conduct translational TI research. In part, this is driven by an exciting opportunity to advance the activities of a senior translational scientist soon to be recruited to our Center and MMC/RI. Here, COBRE funds will be used initially (up to $100K/yr, years 11-13) to bolster major institutional support for the development of a Translational Therapeutic Laboratory that will provide patient-based assay services, assist in patient selection for clinical trials, and providing tools for therapeutic monitoring. Funds specifically will be used to support services, supplies, and research technician costs. Subsequently, in years 14 &15, funds (up to 100 K/yr) will be competitively awarded specifically for translational pilot projects whereby Center investigators partner with their clinical counterparts again in a highly collaborative manner.
Critical support will be provided to test important new concepts, advance exciting lines of investigation, enhance core facility capabilities/technologies, and add new translational capabilities to our Center. Collaborative, multidisciplinary projects will be supported, which further mentoring junior investigators, and strive for national grant support. We also will underwrite the development of a novel translational therapeutics laboratory to enhance the translational research activities of our Center and the Institute.
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