Pilot Projects

Pilot Projects are one-year awards of $25,000 and are typically given each year to four young faculty who will be applying for NIH-R01 funding in the next several years. The proposals are short and the turn-around is fast (1-2 months).

All faculty members who meet the following criteria are invited to submit proposals:
Priority 1: New investigators
New/early stage investigators who have not held extramural NIH grants other than the K Award, R03 or R21. Exclusion: having had an R01 or P01 grant.
Conduct (or propose to initiate) GI-related research.
Propose to use one or more of the Center's Core resources/services.

Priority 2: Established investigators new to GI research

Priority 3: GI scientists beginning a new area of GI research
Priority is given to Pilot Projects related to the Center's focus, which includes epithelial cell and molecular biology including study of transport proteins, trafficking of membrane proteins, protein-protein interactions, diarrheal and inflammatory bowel as well as pancreatic and liver diseases, mechanisms of collagen formation and fibrosis in GI diseases, developmental biology especially of the pancreas, GI cancer and other GI diseases. Use of Cores increases priority of funding.

Award Amount and Requirements of a Pilot Project are:
$25,000 for one year (a second year depending on progress) to cover expenses for salary (technician, postdoctoral fellow, NOT faculty), supplies and animals.
Written summary of scientific achievements, publications, funding applied for and achieved at the end of P/F funding period.
Presentation of research at Center Work-in-Progress meeting.
Details for Pilot Project submission:
Original and 9 copies due to Center coordinator on due date specified.
Format: Cover page with PI, title, abstract up to 250 words and list of pending or approved IACUC/IRB protocols. NIH Biosketch of PI and mentor (if applicable).
NIH Other Support of PI: full information format with percent effort, dollars of support of each funded project.
Budget and Justification for $25,000.
Specific Aims, Background, Preliminary Results, Research Plan, Future Directions (total 3 pages).
Plans to apply for extramural funding: topic and time frame (limit 1 page).
References (one page).

Contact Svetlana Lutsenko (, 410-614-4661) for additional information.

The Mini-sabbatical program allows Hopkins Core Center investigators to apply to receive support to spend a short period of time in the laboratory of a scientist outside of Hopkins to learn a technique that will help their work and which might be of use to multiple Core Center investigators. This type of program has been used by Center members in the past supported by other funds and allowed the bringing of new techniques to the Core Center, especially when initial attempts to develop the techniques by our investigators were unsatisfactory. Examples of techniques now used by multiple Core Center investigators which were helped by these short stays in outside laboratories include acceptor photobleaching FRET in polarized epithelial cells and two-photon microscopy measurement of intracellular pH using a chamber that can be perfused from both luminal and serosal surfaces simultaneously. The times of the supported mini-sabbatical are likely to be variable but days to several weeks are the anticipated durations. The mini-sabbatical program will help pay for travel and room/board for the investigator and it is anticipated that 1-2/year will be supported. The Internal Executive committee will accept written applications from Research Base investigators. The application will state,
1) The purpose of the mini-sabbatical, including technique to be learned;
2) Location, PI lab to be visited (including a biosketch of the PI and PI of laboratory to be visited), expected/requested duration;
3) How the technique is likely to help the scientist taking the mini-sabbatical and also other Core Center Research Base members and whether they are willing to teach the technique to the appropriate Hopkins GI Core Center Core. It is a requirement that the Research Base member who takes advantage of the mini-sabbatical provide a brief report of what they learned and how it might be used by other Research Base investigators.