Developmental Grants

Developmental Grants Program

The primary goal of the Developmental Grants Program (DGP) will be the initiation of innovative studies by junior faculty and trainees at UCSD or affiliated institutions with the following objectives:

  1. Recruitment to neuroAIDS research of new investigators or established investigators without prior experience in the field;
  2. Generation and pilot testing of new research initiatives;
  3. Fostering collaboration among investigators from throughout Southern California.

The program provides to qualified investigators and trainees any appropriate combination of the following forms of support:

  1. Small, 1 year grants to support pilot studies;
  2. Access to HNRP core resources such as data, specimens, participants, equipment, administrative support, or expert consultation and technical assistance.

The application and evaluation processes for grants is semiannual, rapid, and relatively simple. For faculty, assistance will be directed to projects that can generate pilot data that support peer-reviewed proposals to outside agencies. For postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, or other trainees, the objective may be completion of projects that fulfill requirements for advanced degrees and/or result in peer-reviewed publications.

Southern California and specifically San Diego hosts a remarkable concentration of talented investigators in the biomedical and neurobehavioral sciences relevant to neuroAIDS. Fostering collaboration among these investigators by providing funding for pilot studies and support for trainees is an important secondary objective of the core.

Questions about the Developmental Grants Program

  1. When can investigators apply to the awards?
  2. How much support is provided and what categories of research are considered?
  3. What are some examples of recently funded projects?
  4. Who judges the merits of the proposals and how are applications reviewed?
  5. Where can I find the application materials?

  1. When can investigators apply to the awards?

    1st Application Cycle - Spring
    Letter of intent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: January 31st, 2017
    Deadline for Applications: March 31, 2017 by 8:00 am PST
    Estimated Funding Date: May 1, 2017

    *Developmental grant concepts may only be submitted twice (one original submission; one resubmission).

  2. How much support is provided and what categories of research are considered?

    Awards can be made for up to $20,000. The number and size of the awards in each category may be influenced by the quality of the submissions in each award cycle, but only applications of sufficient quality to meet our scientific standards will be funded. The two categories of developmental grants that will be supported are described below.

    (a) Investigators New to NeuroAIDS Research

    This component is designed to support junior investigators in neuroAIDS research, or other investigators with relevant backgrounds, in pursuing new initiatives in HIV-related, neurobehavioral research. Both the guidelines to the review committee and the application instructions will state that the limited CSPAR developmental funds will be targeted to junior investigators. However, we will consider applications from more senior investigators who wish to apply their established skills and methods to neurobehavioral aspects of HIV infections, but who have no prior experience in neuroAIDS research. Support may include access to HNRC resources such as patients, samples, or expertise, or the costs of personnel, consultation with outside experts, assays, drugs, reagents, or equipment needed to complete pilot studies.

    (b) Pilot Studies

    Because even established investigators have difficulty obtaining grants without pilot data, this category will permit faculty at any level to fund pilot studies to demonstrate the feasibility of a new line of research and generate data to support applications for peer-reviewed funding.

     

  3. Examples of recently funded projects:

      Principal Investigator Title
    1. Erin Morgan, PhD Intraindividual Variability in Older HIV-seropositive Adults
    2. Maiko Sakamoto, PhD Development of a novel, touchpad-based screening battery for HAND
    3. Sarah Gianella-Weibel, MD HIV Population Dyanmics in CNS and neurocognitive disorder in virologically suppressed subjects
    4. Michelli Faria de Oliveira, PhD Associations between mitochondrial DNA, inflammation and neuronal damage
    5. Raeanne Moore, PhD The feasbility and validity of ecological momentary assessment of daily functioning in older adults with HIV
    6. Alex Bryant, MD Student Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma biomarkers of HIV-related neuropathology
    7. Jessica Montoya, Grad Student Neuroprotective effect of physical activity on cognition in HIV: cardiovascular mechanisms
    8. Josué Peréz-Santiago, PhD Prediction of HIV RNA levels in CSF and blood to improve research efficacy
    9. Ana Sanchez, PhD

    Modeling HAND-associated cellular injury in Human IPSC-derived Neurons

    8. Sanjay Mehta, MD The Human Gut Microbiome, Persistent Inflammation and HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders

     

  4. Who judges the merits of the proposals and how are applications reviewed?

    The HNRC Developmental Core has a standing Developmental Grant Review Committee. Immediately after the submission deadline, each application will be assigned to two reviewers by Drs. Letendre, McCutchan and the chair of the Developmental Grant Review Committee. Additional ad hoc reviewers will be assigned as appropriate.

      Reviewer Institution Specialty
    1. Dennis Kolson, M.D., Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania  Neuroscience
    2.  Norm Haughey, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University  Neurovirology
    3.  Dianne Langford, Ph.D. Temple University  Neuroscience, Neurovirology
    4.  Jennifer Loftis, Ph.D. Oregon Health & Science University  Psychiatry
    5.  Tricia Burdo, Ph.D. Boston College  NeuroAIDS pathogenesis, HIV/SIV Peripheral neuropathy, osteopontin, monocytes/macrophages
    6.  Shuichi Okamoto, MD, PhD; Stuart Lipton, M.D., Ph.D. Sanford Burnham  Neuroscience & Aging, Molecular Mechanisms, Neurodegenerative diseases and stroke
    7.  Shilpa Buch, Ph.D. Durham Research Center  Drugs of abuse, neuroAIDS, immunology
    8.  Cagla Akay/Kelly Jordan University of Pennsylvania  Pathology, Medicine
    9.  J. Cobb Scott University of Pennsylvania  Neuropsych
    10.  Andrew J. Levine, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles  Neurology

     

    Applications are awarded up to 15 points for scientific merit, relevance to HNRC goals, and relevance to Developmental Core goals. Primary emphasis is placed on significance of the research question and proposed study design and methods. A copy of the review criteria is available here

     

  5. Where can I find the application materials?

    You can download the forms here in MSWord format or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. receive the application materials.

     

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