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Incubator Program

The UR CTSI supports Incubator projects that accelerate scientific discovery in the life sciences and public health, leading to new independently funded research programs. Each award is funded at a maximum level of $100,000 per year for two years. Faculty from all UR schools are eligible to apply.

Like traditional program project grants, Incubator projects should consist of two or more individual pilot projects, led by collaborating investigators and linked by a scientific or clinical theme. The goal of the program is to identify research collaborations with potential to deliver a quantum advance in therapies, diagnostic techniques or population and public health programs—ultimately leading to extramural program project funding. An assigned project officer will serve as a link between the UR CTSI, funded investigators and other appropriate resources throughout the duration of the research project.


Solicitation and Review Process

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

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. Funding recommendations go to the UR CTSI Executive Team for final approval.

CTSI Cost Sharing Information
CTSI Signoff Form 11/2021

View the 2021 RFA for the Incubator Program

Important Dates

Release Date

August 16, 2021


The following dates apply to the most recent solicitation:

  • September 20, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. – Initial abstracts of proposals must be received. Please note that the online submission system will reject proposals submitted after 5:00 p.m.
  • November 15, 2021 – Applicants from whom full proposals will be solicited will be notified. 
  • January 18, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. – Full proposals must be received.
  • April 1, 2022 – Notifications of Award will be made. Awarded proposals must meet several requirements prior to the start date. See the "Requirements if funds are awarded" section of the RFA for details.
  • July 1, 2022 – The anticipated start date.

Note: All animal and human subject protocols must be approved 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.

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

Current Projects

UR241-2: A novel interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 inhibitor for cancer treatment
Michael Becker, M.D.

Dean's Professor of Hematology/Oncology in the Wilmot Cancer Institute

Past Projects

Muscle calcium dysregulation as a therapeutic target in myotonic dystrophy
John Lueck, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology and Neurology

Mechanisms of intercellular signaling in cardiac fibrosis
Eric Small, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology and Biomedical Engineering in the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute
Chen Yan, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine in the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute

Social Modifiers of Stress Regulation and Healthy Aging
Kathi L. Heffner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Medicine, and Psychiatry, and the Associate Chief of Research in the Division of Geriatrics and Aging in the Department of Medicine

Feng Vankee Lin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Psychiatry, Neurology, and Neuroscience
Kimberly A. Van Orden, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Microenvironmental Marrow Populations as Therapeutic Targets in MDS
Laura M. Calvi, M.D.
Dean's Professor of Medicine, Endocrine/Metabolism and co-director of the University of Rochester Multidisciplinary Neuroendocrinology Clinic

Michael W. Becker, M.D.
Associate Professor of Hematology and Oncology at the Wilmot Cancer Institute
Jane L. Liesveld, M.D.
Professor of Hematology and Oncology at the Wilmot Cancer Institute
James Palis, M.D.
Professor of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
Archibald S. Perkins, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Mechanisms of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes-induced Musculoskeletal Comorbidities
Michael Zuscik, M.S., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Orthopaedics, and Director of Educational Programs at the Center for Musculoskeletal Research

DC-STAMP and TRAF3: Regulators of Osteoclasts and Biomarkers in PsA
Christopher T. Ritchlin, M.D., M.P.H.
Chief of the Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology Division (SMD) and Professor of Medicine
Director of the Clinical Immunology Research Unit

Extensively Self-Renewing Erythroblasts as an Ex-Vivo Source of Human Blood
Michael Bulger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, in the Center for Pediatric Biomedical Research

James Palis, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics (Hematology and Oncology)
Richard Waugh, Ph.D.
Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Cigarette smoke, oxidative stress, inflammation and lung injury: Novel therapeutic strategies
Patricia J. Sime, M.D.
Professor in the Departments of Environmental Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, and at the Wilmot Cancer Institute

Novel mixed lineage kinase 3 (MLK3) inhibitors: A single target with therapeutic potential in multiple disease states
Burns Blaxall, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine, Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute