Pilot Grant Program

The Geriatrics Center, using support provided by the National Institute on Aging's Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and other institutional entities, supports an annual competition for those seeking pilot grant support to start a research project focused on aging or diseases of the elderly. Applicants must be full-time faculty members at the University of Michigan. Projects are typically funded for 1 year and at $40,000 (direct costs, plus applicable indirect costs). A request for applications, with additional details about format and relationship to Center initiatives, is typically issued every December, with applications due in January and funding available for winning applicants by July.

Individuals interested in obtaining applications, guidelines, and the required Other Financial Support form should go to https://umms.infoready4.com.

2019 University of Michigan OAIC Pepper Center Pilot Grant Awardees

Carlos Aguilar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering- Probing the relationship of the neuromuscular junction on muscle stem cells in aging

Eleni Gourgou, Assistant Research Scientist, Mechanical Engineering- Exploring the impact of neuronal vulnerability to aging-related disorders on spatial learning in C. elegans model organism

Daniela Ponce Balbuena, Research Investigator, Internal Medicine- Altered cellular stress response contributes to age-dependent cardiac electrical dysfunction

Sheria Robinson-Lane, Ph.D., R.N., Assistant Professor, School of Nursing- Toward a Culturally Responsive Intervention for Black Caregivers of Persons with Dementia

Nadia Sutton, M.D., Clinical Lecturer- Ectonucleotidase modulation of age determined vascular calcification and fibrosis

Matthias Truttmann, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology- How metabolic profiles change with aging and are affected by protein aggregation

Phillip Vlisides, M.D., Assistant Professor- Recommendations and Alerting for Delirium Alleviation in Real-Time (RADAR): Pilot Trial

Jun Wu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology- Diet-induced cellular senescence and thermogenic fat function

2018 University of Michigan OAIC Pepper Center Pilot Grant Awardees

Joshua Ehrlich, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences- Vision Impairment and Mental Health Among Older Adults in Low and Middle Income Countries

Geoffrey Hoffman, Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor- Exploring the Proportions of 30-Day Readmissions Associated with Fall-Related Injuries and Hospital-Acquired Infections

Andre Monteiro da Rocha, Ph.D., Research Investigator, Internal Medicine- Epigenetic alterations associated in human cardiomyocytes with a Lamin A mutation causative of premature aging and proteasome activation as a potential therapeutic target

Shannon Moore, Ph.D., Research Investigator, Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute- A novel discrimination learning paradigm to longitudinally assess age-related cognitive decline and treatment efficacy over the lifespan

Maria Papaleontiou, M.D., Assistant Professor - Overtreatment with thyroid hormone and its effects on the cardiovascular system in older adults

Navid Seraji-Bozorgzad, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology- Cortical Microstructural Changes in African-Americans with Alzheimer’s Disease

Scott Soleimanpour, Ph.D., Assistant Professor- Mitophagy as a regulator of glucose homeostasis in aging and obesity

Svetlana Stamatovic, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Research Scientist, Cerebrovascular Biology- Blood-brain barrier dysfunction after sepsis in aging mice: role for complement C5a and histories

Laura Zahodne, Assistant Professor of Psychology- Inflammation, social stress, and racial disparities in cognitive aging


2017 University of Michigan OAIC Pepper Center Pilot Grant Awardees

Marco Cassone, MD, PhD, Research Investigator, Internal Medicine – Environmental sites panels as a proxy for Nursing Home residents MDRO colonization

Mary Janevic, MPH, PhD, Assistant Research Scientist, Health Behavior and Health Education School of Public Health – Promoting Physical Activity for Chronic Pain Management among Older Adults in Detroit: Comparing Technology-Based Strategies

Mark Peterson, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation  Inflammaging and weakness as predictors of incident disability, multimorbidity and greater DNA methylation age

Lisa Sharkey, PhD, Research Assistant Scientist, Neurology – Aging and Neurodegeneration: Investigating the role of life-span extending treatments on gene expression in the aging brain

Durga Singer, MA, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics – Sex-linked differences in lipolysis mediated adipose tissue inflammation in aging and obesity

Adam Stein, MD, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine/Cardiovascular –Targeting heart failure in aging Heart failure is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among the elderly.

Carolyn Swenson, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Aging Effects on the Pelvic Floor

Melissa Wei, MD, MPH, SM, Clinical Lecturer, Internal Medicine-General Medicine

        – Cumulative impact of chronic diseases on physical functioning in older adults: development and validation of a novel measure of multimorbidity