The overarching goals of the Pilot Project Core are to (i) provide a structured funding mechanism to seed the development of great new ideas relevant to 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 Pilot Projects. In addition, the Pilot Project Core, in close coordination 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 for 2 years each and funded at $30k (direct costs) each year. Using this approach, we will have a total of 6 funded pilot projects during the proposed 5-year funding period. Two highly innovative Pilot Project Proposals are proposed to begin in FY1. Pilot Project 1 (Cameron, PI) will examine the impact of maternal care during the neonatal period on DNA methylation and GABA-A receptor subunit expression, and how maternal care influences ethanol sensitivity later in life. Pilot Project 2 (Doremus-Fitzwater, PI) will examine the effect of adolescent ethanol exposure on coping behavior during aversive test situations, hypothesizing that adolescent ethanol exposure may differentially impact active versus passive coping strategies relative to adults. Through support of exciting new projects and promising investigators, the Pilot Project Core will serve as an incubator of great new ideas related to the central themes and mission of the DEARC.
The Pilot Project Core will provide a critical framework for seeding new scientific projects that have the potential to develop into new programmatic lines of study in research areas relating to the central themes of the DEARC. The Pilot Project program will be used to draw new expertise into the DEARC, cultivate meaningful mentoring relationships for new DEARC members, and provide a means for the Center to remain responsive to new targeted opportunities that may arise during the 5 year funding period.
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