Earlier this summer, the BSD announced that it was making pilot research funding available to support applications for new federal grant proposals. Based on President Biden’s initial FY22 budget proposal, subject to congressional approval, the BSD anticipates significant increases to the NIH and NSF budgets in FY22.

The pilot funds are meant to assist faculty in preparing the most competitive proposals for these funds by generating preliminary data for new R01-equivalent research project grant proposals or to facilitate collaborations amongst faculty for new center or team science grant proposals. These funds can be used for multiple purposes, for example: to generate reagents for key preliminary data, purchase small equipment items, or provide short-term funding for personnel and supplies to perform experiments.

This kind of institutional support is vital to encourage innovative, collaborative research by BSD faculty and allow them to pursue exciting new projects that push boundaries through rigorous inquiry and experimentation. As new technologies enable more discoveries and expand the possibilities of research, the BSD can help researchers reach their potential by committing resources to the most promising ideas.

This year the BSD received 80 proposals. A group of faculty members reviewed and ranked each submission based on their potential for highly innovative and impactful science that is likely to compete successfully for NIH or NSF funding over the next year. The size of each pilot research awards ranges from $25,000 for individual R01-equivalent proposals to $50,000 for collaborative projects.

Twenty-three (23) proposals were approved for funding, for a total of $841,736. We hope to announce another call for proposals later in FY22. Congratulations to all the researchers selected in this round, listed below:


  • Yanchun Li (Medicine), “Gut microbial metabolites and metabolic control of intestinal epithelial regeneration”
  • Sam Light, Mark Mimee (Microbiology), “Re-engineering microbial resource competition strategies to enable colonization in the gut microbiome”
  • Jing Chen (Medicine), “Diet-derived trans-vaccenic acid (TVA) stimulates anti-tumor immunity”
  • Barbara Kee (Pathology), “Mechanisms of clonal expansion and competition during leukemogenic transformation in a model of T lymphocyte acute lymphoblastic leukemia”
  • Raymond Roos (Neurology), Paschalis Kratsios (Neurobiology), “Molecular mechanisms underlying synthesis of dipeptide protein repeats from the human C9orf72 locus”
  • Roshni Roy Chowdhury (Medicine), Kiran Turaga (Surgery), “An adaptive immune cell atlas of human appendiceal diseases: Towards tissue- specific therapies”
  • Lucy Godley (Medicine/Hematology-Oncology), “Mechanistic insights into how deleterious germline CHEK2 and BRCA1 variants drive hematopoietic malignancies”
  • Sampriti Mukherjee, Heng-Chi Lee (Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology), “Investigate the role of microbiome in modulating host-pathogen interactions in an animal model”
  • Jonathan Staley (Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology), “Defining the consequences of MDS mutations for branch site and 3’ splice site usage”
  • Robert Carrillo, Ellie Heckscher (Molecular Genetic and Cell Biology), “Combinatorial transcription factor codes regulate expression of neuronal cell surface proteins”
  • Sally Horne-Badovinac (Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology), “When an epithelial cell makes an ‘axon’ – studies of a neuronal gene expression program in the polar cells of Drosophila”
  • Timothy Sanders (Pediatrics), “Limb development is regulated by the cytoneme mediated dispersal of Sonic Hedgehog”
  • Christian Hansel (Neurobiology), “Sensory over-responsivity in autism: role of the olivo-cerebellar system?”
  • Scott Oakes (Pathology), Marsha Rosner (Ben May), “Synthetic Transcriptional Inhibitors of Hypoxic Response Genes to Treat Triple Negative Breast Cancer”
  • Philip Connell (Radiation Oncology), James LaBelle (Pediatrics), “Overcoming treatment resistance in malignancies by inhibiting ETS1/p52 signaling”
  • Catherine Pfister (Ecology & Evolution), Sam Light (Microbiology), “Developing a host-microbiome system for kelp forests”
  • Arjun Raman (Pathology), Seppe Kuehn (Ecology and Evolution), “A statistical approach for engineering synthetic microbial communities”
  • Phoebe Rice (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), “Directional Control of Large Serine Integrases”
  • Anindita Basu (Medicine), Supratik Guha (Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering), “Hybrid Microfluidic Platform with Silicon Nano-tips for Microbial Cell”
  • Marcus Kronforst (Ecology & Evolution), Stephanie Palmer (Organismal Biology & Anatomy), “Molecular mechanisms of insect photoreceptor diversity”
  • Yun Fang, David Wu (Medicine), “Targeted Gene Delivery Systems Treating Lung Diseases”
  • Anna Volerman, Valerie Press (Medicine and Pediatrics), “Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Diverse Researchers to Identify Interventions”
  • Christos Lazaridis (Neurology), “Prediction and Prevention of Intracranial Hypertension and Tissue Hypoxia in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury”
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