PILOT PROJECT CORE The goals of the Pilot Project Core are to (1) provide a structured funding mechanism to seed the development of new ideas, collaborative teams or technical approaches relevant to the central themes of the DEARC; (ii) support career growth for both young and seasoned investigators through mentoring and facilitated collaboration; and (iii) capitalize on unique and timely opportunities that may arise from the rapidly changing, dynamic field of research on alcohol and development. The Pilot Project Core will achieve these goals through administration of a Pilot Project program that solicits Pilot Project Proposals from eligible investigators, coordinates the review process for proposals received, and ultimately oversees the award and reporting functions for all supported Pilot Projects. In addition, the Pilot Project Core, in close collaboration with the Executive Committee, will help promote scientific connections among new members of the DEARC, and between these new members and established DEARC investigators to further increase scientific synergy and promote both peer-based and mentor-mentee relationships within the Center. Pilot Projects will be supported for 1-2 years each and will be funded at $45K (direct costs) per year. Using this approach, we will have at least 6 funded pilot projects during the proposed 5-year funding period. Two highly innovative Pilot Project proposals are proposed to begin in the first budget year of this Center. Pilot Project 1 (Middleton, PI) will lay the groundwork for research that will determine the novel role for exosome-mediated delivery of small RNAs from ethanol-treated dams to offspring via amniotic fluid, representing a novel mechanism for inter-generational transmission of ethanol effects. Pilot Project 2 (Bergstrom, PI) will 1) evaluate the developmentally-specific effect of voluntary alcohol intake on the ability to suppress conditional fear behavior after extinction of the learned associations and 2) utilize chemogenetic approaches to test the functional significance of impaired neural activity in the medial prefrontal cortex on this effect. Future projects will similarly promote the Center's scientific mission through novel technical and conceptual advances. Through support of exciting new projects and investigators, novel collaborative ventures and technology development efforts, the Pilot Project Core will serve as an incubator of great new ideas and teams that will positively contribute to the mission of the DEARC.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Specialized Center (P50)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1)
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State University of NY, Binghamton
United States
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