Pilot & Feasibility Grants

The purpose of the MNORC Pilot /Feasibility (P/F) Grant Program is to promote research on the biological and behavioral determinants of obesity, and to develop interventions to reduce obesity and its disease sequelae using basic, clinical, or population approaches. The P/F program’s aim is to enable both new and established University of Michigan investigators to generate sufficient preliminary information for a successful application for major research funding from NIH or other national granting agencies.

Grant proposals may be in areas of basic biomedical research or in clinical, epidemiological, or translational research, e.g. interventions in clinical or population-based setting. Animal or human models may be considered. Grant proposals involving cross-disciplinary expertise, Faculty from different UM schools, and that utilize the core laboratories of the MNORC are especially encouraged.

The MNORC 2021 Call for Proposals aims to foster research addressing key questions in the areas of:

Pathogenesis, diagnosis, prevention, or control of obesity; complications of obesity or related endocrine or metabolic disorders (e.g. counter-regulatory proteins, metabolic syndrome); neuro-peptides that may control eating behavior or energy expenditure; adipose tissue biology; influence of gut flora on nutrient absorption and cellular functions related to energy utilization.

Translational research projects are encouraged and should focus on research advances into clinical practice or population-based interventions related to obesity, and include identification of barriers to widespread adoption of new science and the testing of interventions to overcome these barriers.

Individuals who have full-time instructional, clinical or research faculty positions at the University of Michigan are eligible to apply as Principal Investigators of P/F proposals. Eligible applicants are: a) new investigators beginning careers in research on nutrition and obesity; b) established investigators in areas of biomedical research who wish to focus their expertise on nutrition, obesity and related areas; or c) established nutritional sciences or obesity investigators who wish to take an entirely new direction from their usual work. This new direction cannot be an extension or outgrowth of research currently being undertaken by the applicant.

Successful applicants who receive funding will be required to acknowledge the MNORC funding (P30 DK089503) on all resultant publications, as well as reporting periodically on progress and attending the MNORC Annual Symposium to present the results of the funded project.

Questions? Please contact Sandra Wankel 763-9312 wankel@umich.edu

2021 P/F Grant Awards

  • Monica Dus, PhD, Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, LSA: "Regulation of insulin biosynthesis and secretion by m6A mRNA Methylation." ($45,000)
  • Melissa Elafros, MD, PhD, Instructor in Neurology, Medical School: "The Flint Neuropathy Study." ($15,000)

2021 URM P/F Grant Awards

  • Cristina Saenz de Miera Patin, PhD, Research Fellow, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Medical School: "Prenatal photoperiodic programming of the developing metabolic hypothalamus." ($45,000)
  • Sonya Wolf-Fortune, PhD, Research Fellow, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Medical School: "Dysregulation of keratinocyte/macrophage axis in obesity driven diabetic wounds." ($45,000)

2020 P/F Grant Awards

  • Eric Buras, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine MEND: "Thrombospondin-1 promotes fibro-adipogenic remodeling and contractile dysfunction of the diaphragm in obesity" ($45,000)
  • Kendrin Sonneville, ScD, Assistant Professor, Nutritional Sciences, School of Public Health: "Piloting the impact of an intuitive eating-based workplace wellness program" ($45,000)

2019 P/F Grant Awards

  • Erica Jansen, Research Assistant Professor, Nutritional Sciences: "Circadian gene DNA methylation as a predictor of 10-year BMI gains among women" ($25,000)
  • Alla Karnovsky, Research Associate Professor, DCMB: "Exploring Diet/Lipidome Interactions to Understand the Development of Adverse Cardiometabolic Phenotypes in the SWAN Cohort." ($25,000)
  • Laura Saslow, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing: "Piloting the impact of a carbohydrate-reduced eating pattern for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease" ($50,000)

2018 P/F Grant Awards

  • Daniel Lawrence, PhD, Professor, Internal Medicine – Cardiology: "Metabolic insults, the neurovascular unit and Alzheimer’s" ($50,000)
  • Yewei Ji, PhD, Research Investigator, Molecular and Integrative Physiology: "Toll-like Receptors Act as Brakes on Adaptive β-cell Mass Expansion" ($25,000)
  • Anna Mathew, MD, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine – Nephrology: "Metabolic approach to Understanding the Role of Eicosanoids in Salt Sensitivity in CKD" ($25,000)

2017 P/F Grant Awards

  • Charles Evans, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine – Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes: “Differentiating intrinsic and exercise training-responsible contributions to exercise capacity, obesity, and metabolic health” ($38,000)
  • Xin (Tony) Tong, MD, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology: “Role and mechanisms of E4BP4 in high-fat diet-induced liver steatosis” ($38,000)
  • Abhijit Naik, MBBS, Internal Medicine – Nephrology: "Effect of moderate caloric restriction on glomerular growth after kidney transplantation" ($23,441)

2016 P/F Grant Awards

  • Kanakadurga Singer, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics: “Probing sex differences in diet induced inflammation through profiling of hematopoietic progenitors” ($45,000)
  • Marianna Sadagurski, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, Internal Medicine, Geriatric and Palliative Medicine: “Growth hormone receptor modulates glucose homeostasis in nutrient-sensing leptin receptor expressing neurons” ($10,000 small grant)
  • Raymond Trievel, PhD, Associate Professor, Biological Chemistry: “Characterization of the Molecular Functions of the Obesity-linked Protein Nocturnin” ($45,000)

2015 P/F Grant Awards

  • Jun Wu, PhD, Assistant Professor, Life Sciences Institute, Molecular and Integrative Physiology: “Beige fat-specific regulation in mice and humans” ($25,000)
  • Monica Dus, PhD, Assistant Professor, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB): “Metabolites as key regulators of feeding states” ($25,000)
  • Wei Perng, PhD, MPH, Research Assistant Professor, Nutritional Sciences: “Metabolomic patterns and development of metabolic risk in US and Mexican children” ($25,000)
  • Ingrid Bergin, DVM, MS, Assistant Professor, Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine: “Effects of calcium and multi-mineral supplementation on gut microbes and microbially-derived metabolites in patients at risk for colon cancer” ($25,000)

2014 P/F Grant Awards

  • Robert W O'Rourke, Associate Professor of Surgery, Medical School: "glutamine as substrate for de novo lipogenesis in adipocyte-pancreatic cancer metabolic crosstalk- a pilot study" ($33,000)
  • Christa Patterson, Research Investigator, Internal Medicine, Medical School: "Role of Atf3 in central leptin regulation of physiology and neuronal function" ($33,000)
  • Hiroyuki Mori, Research Investigator, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Medical School: "Role of Wnt11 as a mediator of HIF-1α effects in adipose tissue biology" ($33,000)
  • Elizabeth Speliotes, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Assistant Professor of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, Medical School: "NAFLD Metabolomics" ($25,000)

2013 P/F Grant Awards

  • Rebecca Hasson, PhD, Assistant Professor (School of Kinesiology): "Stress-induced eating behavior: implications for pediatric obesity disparities in Latino and African-American Youth" ($50,000)
  • Jun Hee Lee, PhD, Assistant Professor (Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology): "The role of Sestrin1 against obesity-associated muscle metabolic pathologies" ($50,000)

2012 P/F Grant Awards

  • Lei Yin, PhD, Assistant Professor (Dept of Molecular and Integrative Physiology): "Nutrient-dependent Regulation of Molecular Clock" ($50,000)
  • Shanti Eswaran, MD, Clinical Lecturer (Department of Medicine - Division of Gastroenterology): "Low FODMAP diet vs. usual care for patients with irritable bowel syndrom with diarrhea (IBS-D): a randomized, controlled trial and gastroinestinal microbiome analysis" ($50,000)
  • David P. Olson, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor (Pediatrics and Communicable Disease): "The Role of Vasopressin Neurons in Energy Balance" ($50,000)

2011 P/F Grant Awards

  • Ana Baylin, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology: "Fatty Acids and Risk of Overweight in School-Aged Children" ($50,000)
  • Siming Li, Assistant Research Scientist, Life Sciences Institute: "Dissecting transcriptional control of brown adipocyte development through genome-wide functional screen" ($50,000) 

2010 P/F Grant Awards

  • Carey Lumeng, MD, PhD and Susan Woolford, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatric and Communicable Diseases: "Inflammatory monocytes in childhood obesity" ($33,000)
  • Dana Dolinoy, PhD, Searle Assistant Professor, SPH Environmental Health Science: "In Utero BPA exposure: Effects on metabolic homeostasis mediated by epigenetic labile loci" ($33,000)
  • Jorge A. Iniguez-Lluhi, PhD, Associate Professor, Pharmacology: "Novel bifunctional glucocorticoid receptor ligands with favorable metabolic profiles through the display of novel chemical functionalities" ($33,000) 

2009 P/F Grant Awards

  • David Lombard, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept of Pathology and Research Professor, Institute of Gerontology: "Role of acetylation in regulating the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex" ($50,000)
  • Julie Lumeng, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Pediatric & Comm Diseases, Asst Research Scientist, Center for Human Growth and Development: "Diurnal salivary cortisol in association with cardiovascular risk markers and weight status in low-income preschool-aged children" ($25,000)

Contact Us

Sandra Wankel, MSA

MNORC Program Manager