Pilot Project Program              

An important aspect of the Center for Environmental Genetics is the Pilot Project Program. Every year the Center supports research projects that are centered on the gene-environment interaction. This seed money supports new initiatives in basic research, attracts investigators to research in Environmental Health Sciences, and enables our Center members to use the Facilities and Services Cores that would otherwise be unavailable to them.  NIEHS-awarded funds are supplemented by $50,000 per year from the Dean's Office of the College of Medicine. 

The deadline for 2012 Pilot Project Grant applications is March 5, 2012.  The application may be downloaded here.

All requests that include use of human subjects or human specimens must include a consultation with the CEG Integrative Health Sciences Core.   Consultation requests must be emailed to Dr. Pinney  at Susan.Pinney@uc.edu.   Deadline to request consultations is February 27th, 2012.  Applications using human subjects or samples that do not include a consultation will be considered unresponsive, and will not be reviewed.

Award mechanisms - There are four specific award mechanisms of PPP proposals: 1) for trainees, but they must have a mentor also on the grant (the Mentee-Mentor partnership awards); 2) for investigators at any level who have no prior experience in environmental sciences/medicine research but are venturing into the field, they must identify an EHS scientist as a co-investigator (New-to-EHS Awards); 3) for existing environmental health scientists who wish to develop research in a new direction, using a new technology/concept, or establishing new collaborations (Innovator Awards); 4) multiple investigators from different disciplines submitting a highly integrated and novel transdisciplinary application (Affinity Group Awards). 5)  Our Community Outreach and Engagement Core also encourages proposals that will engage CEG scientists and communities (Community Engagement Awards).  Proposals from all five tracks will be preferred if they show a strong translational or clinical relevance and/or have a significant impact on some area of environmental health research related to gene and environment interaction.

Size of the Awards - Pilot Projects using the Mentee-Mentor Partnership, the Innovator, Community Engagement and the New-to-EHS award mechanisms can be funded up to $30,000 for one year. These funds are intended to help the investigator gain sufficient preliminary data to justify a K-series or an R01-type grant proposal, or their equivalents. For investigators applying for the Affinity Group Awards, the funding can be up to $50,000 for one year. These awards are intended to generate enough preliminary data for the group to apply for program projects and center grants or their equivalent. In addition, the Director may use the Director’s Discretionary Funds.

Types of Proposals of Interest to the PPP -Those proposals that receive funding will have obvious relevance to the mission and goals of the CEG and the NIEHS. The following general ideas are presented to suggest the breadth of questions of potential interest to the CEG. This list is only a sample and is not inclusive of all the projects that may be considered as relevant to the goals of the Center. For the most part, the themes of the proposal should be interconnected with the themes of the Center's Focus Groups:

• Molecular epidemiology studies that evaluate the role of a gene or combination of genes that interact with an environmental agent to cause human disease. Of particular interest would be the development of markers of internal and external exposure and the identification of functional outcomes of exposure.

• Identification and characterization of DNA variant sites associated with a disease and/or their interaction with environmental agents.

• Characterization of pathophysiological markers of environmental exposure and the regulation of cellular signaling in response to environmental agents.

• Clinical studies on the physiologic consequences of genetic variation detected by SNP analysis.

• Functional analyses of SNPs: from the bedside to the bench.

• Role of endocrine disruptors in disease: epigenetic modifications induced by endocrine disruptors, metals, and other environmental agents; endocrine-related oncogenesis.

• Studies on the role of environmental agents in inflammatory processes and metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

• Investigations on environmentally induced epigenetic changes that modify genetic susceptibility

• Genetic markers in neurodevelopmental diseases and their interaction with heavy metals.

Proposals that do not evaluate a gene x environment interaction will be considered non-responsive, and will not be scored.

For more information on the CEG Pilot Project Grant Program, please contact Elizabeth Kopras in 131A Kettering Laboratory, or 513-558-3625



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