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Faculty Pilot Award

Faculty awards lay the foundation to obtain subsequent extramural funding. The UR CTSI requires that faculty awardees demonstrate academic productivity through publication of the research.

Faculty Pilot projects should focus on translational science, with a focus on understanding a scientific or operational principle underlying a step of the translational process with the goal of developing generalizable principles to accelerate translational research. 


Faculty members with a primary appointment at the University of Rochester are eligible to serve as principal investigators.

Funding Amount

These awards provide up to $50,000 maximum for up to one year.

Important Dates

The following dates apply to the most recent solicitation:

  • Release date - July 24, 2023
  • Initial abstracts due – September 11, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. 
  • Notification of full proposal invitations– November 6, 2023
  • Full proposals due – January 8, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Notifications of award​ – March 1, 2024
  • Anticipated start date – July 1, 2024

The Pilot Studies Funding Attestation must be submitted with the initial abstract and full proposal.

Note: All animal and human subject protocols must be approved by NCATS, the NIH institute funding the UR CTSI, prior to the start date. No funds for research project costs may be released until all required human subjects and animal welfare approvals have been received. No funds for research project costs may be released until all required human subjects and animal welfare approvals have been received.


If you have questions regarding this RFA, please contact one of the following:

General inquiries
Mary Little -, (585) 275-0653

Scientific and Peer Review contacts
OJ Sahler, MD -
Edward Schwarz, PhD -

Financial contact
Mary Lyons -


Solicitation and Review Process

Phase 1: Applicants submit one-page abstracts summarizing their proposals. A UR CTSI Review Committee composed of selected experts will evaluate, score, and discuss the abstracts.

Phase 2: A subset of applicants will be invited to submit full proposals. The UR CTSI Review Committee will engage in a formal study section-style discussion and scoring meeting for proposals. Funding recommendations go to the UR CTSI Executive Team for final approval.

2023-2024 Pilot Awards RFA

CTSI Cost Sharing Information
CTSI Signoff Form

Awardees and Projects

Understanding the kidney replacement therapy decision-making process
Suma Prakash, M.D.

Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Nephrology

Significance of symptom onset-To-angiography time in non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction
Sukardi Suba, Ph.D., R.N.
Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Rochester School of Nursing

Desmosome-nuclear lamina coupling: Implications for arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy
Eric M. Small, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine in the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute, Pharmacology and Physiology, and Biomedical Engineering

Dissecting cellular heterogeneity and cross-talk in Cam FAI and hip osteoarthritis joint synovial tissue by spatial transcriptomics sequencing
Chia-Lung Wu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics and Biomedical Engineering

Is Concentrated Insulin in Human Milk-Derived Fortifiers Linked with Increased Hypoglycemia in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?
Bridget Young, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatric Allergy/Immunology and Public Health Sciences

Using neural correlates of story comprehension to reveal mild cognitive impairment in early Alzheimer's
Andrew J. Anderson, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience

Mitochondrial genetics and oxidative function as determinants of bone health
Roman Eliseev, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Orthopaedics and Pharmacology and Physiology 

Role of the Alternative Complement Pathway in Systemic Sclerosis Associated Pulmonary Hypertension (SSc-PAH)
Benjamin Korman, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Allergy/Immunology and Rheumatology

Preventing Premature Death among Patients with Serious Opioid Related Infection
Marc Swogger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Kenneth Conner, PsyD, MPH
Professor of Emergency Medicine

Predictors of Functional Impairment in Older Adults with Head & Neck Cancer
Ronald Maggiore, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology

Targeting Vitamin D Receptor for Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer
Rakesh Singh, M.D., MPhil
Research Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Piloting Interventions to Improve Adherence to Cervical Cancer Screening in ED
David Adler, M.D., MPH
Professor of Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics and Public Health Sciences

Cardiac Biomarkers for Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy
David Auerbach, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute

Patient-specific simulated procedure rehearsal for minimally invasive surgery
Ahmed Ghazi, M.D., MSc
Assistant Professor of Urology

Developing Social-Network Measures of Medical Staff Interactions in Nursing Homes
Orna Intrator, Ph.D.
Professor of Public Health Sciences

Sensitivity to Envelope Structure in Children with Otitis Media and Hearing Loss
Margo McKenna Benoit, M.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Otolaryngology

Targeting of small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of myelogenous leukemia
Benjamin Frisch, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology

Effect of Statin therapy in combination with QT prolonging drugs
Coeli Lopes, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute

MeTC7 a novel Vitamin-D receptor antagonist for immunotherapy of ovarian cancer
Rakesh Singh, Ph.D., MPhil
Research Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Assessment of Forteo as a Therapeutic to Treat Knee Osteoarthritis
Emily Carmody, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic

A Pilot Study of Mexiletine for Muscle Cramps in Charcot Marie tooth Disease
David Herrmann, M.D.
Professor of Neurology

Vitamin D Kinetics During Pregnancy
Eva Pressman, M.D.
Chair and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Identification of the Effective Vascular Progenitors for Bone Repair and Regeneration
Xingping Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Orthopaedics

Improving Mitochondrial Function in Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Accelerate Fracture Repair in Aging
Roman Eliseev, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Center for Musculoskeletal Research

Chemoprevention of bladder cancer through estrogen receptor modulation
Elizabaeth Guancial, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Oncology)

Role of the Gut Microbiome in Preventing Allergic Disease
R. John Looney, M.D.
Professor of Medicine (Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology)

Exosomes from bladder cancer patients can serve as biomarkers of disease progression
Edward Messing, M.D.
Professor of Urology

Novel microRNA Based Therapy to Improve CD4+ T-cell Responses to Vaccination
Craig Morrell, DVM, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine

The Role of Microparticle-Derived Thy-1 (CD90) in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Sherry Spinelli, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Quantifying Tumor Diversity to predict and target Cancer progression
W. Richard Burack, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Osteoblastic Function in Human Leukemia
Laura Calvi, M.D.
Associate Professor, Medicine (Endocrinology)

Inhibition of G protein beta/gamma signaling as a therapeutic approach to treatment of lupus
Alan Smrcka, Ph.D.
Professor, Pharmacology and Physiology

Improving Platelet Storage and Transfusion Outcomes with PPARγ Ligands
Neil Blumberg, M.D.
Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

High throughput sorting of rare cells from blood using Microbubble Arrays
Lisa DeLouise, Ph.D., M.P.D.
Associate Professor, Dermatology

Characterization of antifibrotic effects of CDDO, a small electrophilic compound
Ajit Kulkarni, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor, Medicine (Pulmonary/Critical Care Division)

Therapeutic targeting of CXCR7 in malignant glioma by small molecule antagonist
Yang Liu, BM, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery

Comparative Effectiveness of practice-based diabetes prevention programs
Nancy Bennett, M.D., M.S.
Director of the Center for Community Health

Protease activated cytokines: a novel methodology for the delivery and activation of cytokines
John Frelinger, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Microparticle miRNAs as transcellular messengers in diabetes and vascular disease
Sherry Spinelli, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine