Pilot & Feasibility Program

Applications for the 2024 Pilot & Feasibility Program are now closed.

The Pilot & Feasibility Program continues to work towards attracting and retaining early stage investigators and investigators new to diabetes research.

P and F Project Requirements

Eligible investigators should hold a PhD, MD or MD/PhD degree and have a full time appointment at a research university or medical center in the Chicagoland area.  Postdoctoral and MD Fellows are not eligible to apply, while faculty of parenthetical rank are eligible to apply.  Applicants include new investigators without current or past NIH support as principal investigators, established grant supported investigators who have not previously worked in diabetes related areas, or established investigators in diabetes related areas with a proposal for testing the feasibility of a new or innovative idea that is diabetes related and represents a clear and distinct departure from his/her ongoing research interests. We encourage applications from candidates from backgrounds that are under-represented in medicine.

DRTC Pilot & Feasibility studies are research projects aimed at: 1) attracting more junior members of the faculty into the area of diabetes-related research; 2) allowing more established faculty members who are not currently engaged in diabetes research to extend their investigations into this important area; 3) permitting any faculty member to test a novel hypothesis of relevance to diabetes which might not yet meet NIH requirements for R01 funding; or 4) investigators proposing to develop innovative research techniques/technologies that could have relevance to diabetes research. It is strongly anticipated that the results of these pilot projects will eventually permit investigators to compete successfully for extramural sources of research support such as the NIH, American Diabetes Association, JDRF, etc.

We and the NIH view diabetes as a multifaceted disease with broad biological aspects. Applications are acceptable from any member of the faculty who believes that he or she can make an important contribution in any of these areas within the framework of molecular understanding of diabetes and broader aspects of endocrinology using cellular, animal and/or clinical approaches.

Applications that propose to investigate social, behavioral and psychological aspects of diabetes, health outcomes or community outreach are not suitable for this funding mechanism.  Instead, applicants should consider applying for P&F funding through the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translational Research.

Pilot and Feasibility Studies will be funded for one year beginning April 1, 2024, with the option of a second year of funding contingent on satisfactory progress. Pilot and Feasibility Studies are funded up to $40,000/yr in direct costs. Funds may be requested for personnel, supplies, service and other costs, as for any NIH grant application. There is no support for PI salary or indirect costs so they should not be included in the budget.

P&F awardees are required to attend the Annual Diabetes Day held each May at the University of Chicago campus as a requirement for a second year of support. Awardees are encouraged to present a poster in the second year of funding at this meeting.

Past Awardees

Download a full list here

  • Eric Brey, Biomedical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology/Medicine
    Extracellular matrix mediated adipocyte differentiation and insulin sensitivity
  • Sam Dudley, Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Diabetes mellitus and diastolic function
  • Robert Sargis, Medicine, University of Chicago
    Environmental endocrine disruption and global energy metabolism
  • Natalia Tamarina, Medicine, University of Chicago
    Role of Heat Shock Protein 90 in insulin secretion
  • Gokhan Dalgin, Organismal Biology & Anatomy, University of Chicago
    Identification of novel beta cell targets to improve cell based therapies
  • Kristen Knutson, Medicine, University of Chicago
    Adipocyte insulin sensitivity, adipokines and incretins:  link with sleep and race
  • Rochelle Naylor, Pediatrics, University of Chicago
    Racial and Ethnic Differences in Attitudes Toward Genetic Testing in Diabetes
  • Abraham Palmer, Human Genetics, University of Chicago
    Mapping Epistatic Modifiers of Diabetes using the Akita Mouse Model
  • Grant Barish, Medicine, Northwestern University
    Transcriptional repression by BCL6 suppresses adipogenesis and insulin sensitivity
  • Katarzyna Broniowska, Biochemistry, Medical College of Wisconsin
    The role of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in pathogenesis of diabetes
  • Mary Byrn, Nursing, Loyola University
    Can vitamin D3 improve cognitive function in individuals with type 2 diabetes?
  • Brian Layden, Medicine, Northwestern University and University of Illinois Chicago
    A novel role of FFAR2 in pancreatic beta cell function
  • David Weinberg, Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin
    Adaptive optics vascular imaging in diabetic retinopathy
  • Joseph Bass, Medicine, Northwestern University
    Prevention of type-2 diabetes: the circadian system as a novel target for long-term maintenance of weight loss
  • Lev Becker, Ben May Dept. for Cancer Research, University of Chicago
    Type 2 diabetes promotes aortic macrophage dysfunction via IFNgamma
  • Kirkwood Pritchard, Pediatric Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin
    Diabetes increases injury/reperfusion Injury after thrombolysis
  • Ann Rosenthal, Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin; Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center
    The polyol pathway exacerbates OA in diabetes
  • YanChun Li, Medicine, University of Chicago
    Metabolic Dysregulation and Gut Innate Immunity
  • ChongWee Liew, Physiology and Biophysics, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Modulating brown fat glucose metabolism for systemic glucose homeostasis
  • Oleg Palygin, Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin
    The role of protease-activated receptors in diabetic nephropathy
  • Tao Pan, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, University of Chicago
    Mistranslation as a potential contributing factor to diabetes
  • Decheng Ren, Medicine, University of Chicago
    The role of VIMP in adipogenesis
  • Rongxue(Rosie) Wu, Medicine, University of Chicago
    Reduction of endothelial ARNT mediates cardiovascular dysfunction in diabetes
  • Marcelo Nobrega, Human Genetics, University of Chicago
    An integrated OMICs platform to characterize genetic loci associated with diabete and obesity
  • Manami Hara, Medicine, University of Chicago
    Three-dimensional analysis of the pancreatic extracellular matrix
  • Rachel Kadakia, Pediatrics, Northwestern University
    Newborn metabolites, genotype and adiposity: an integrated approach to prediction of childhood diabetes
  • Vanessa Leone, Medicine, University of Chicago
    Gut microbial drivers of host circadian networks: Interventions for treatment of metabolic syndrome
  • Siri Atma Greeley, Pediatrics, University of Chicago
    Newborn screening for earlier diagnosis and treatment of congenital diabetes
  • Abhinav Bhushan, Biomedical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology
    Development of a platform for personalized metabolic assessment on chip
  • Jose Cordoba-Chacon, Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Suppression of hepatic glucose production by conjugated linoleic acids
  • Yuwei Jiang, Physiology and Biophysics, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Increasing beige fat longevity for metabolic health in obesity and diabetes
  • Sirimon Reutrakul, Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Circadian and sleep functioning and their relationship with intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells in diabetic retinopathy
  • Daisy Sahoo, Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin
    Oxidized HDL:  A role in beta cell function?
  • Robert Sargis, Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Environmental disruption of serotonin disposal in the etiology of gestational diabetes
  • Lisa Beutler, Medicine, Northwestern University
    Dissecting carbohydrate-mediated regulation of gut-brain communication
  • Daria Esterhazy, Pathology, University of Chicago    Duodenal control of pancreatic immunity via shared lymph node drainage
  • Pingwen Xu, Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Preoptic anterior hypothalamus receptor-alpha controls energy homeostasis
  • Isabel Casimiro, Medicine, University of Chicago
    Identification of allograft inflammatory factor-1 human isoforms and SNPs in metabolic disease.
  • Abeer Mohamed, Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Role of adipocyte-derived vesicles in diabetes-associated endothelial dysfunction
  • Clara Peek, Biochemistry, Northwestern University
    Role of Clock-HIF signaling in adult muscle stem cell regenerative capacity during obesity
  • Georgia Papavasiliou, Biomedical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology/Medicine
    Biocompatible nanoparticle emulsions for healing chronic diabetic wound infection
  • Medha Priyadarshini, Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Microbiota-aryl hydrocarbon receptor axis in pregnancy insulin resistance
  • Xuelin Lou, Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin
    Understanding cortical actin nano-remodeling in insulin secretion and beta cell dysfunction
  • Nicolas Chevrier, Molecular Engineering,University of Chicago
    Organism-wide analysis of Type 1 diabetes
  • Sam Light, Microbiology, University of Chicago
    Characterizing gut microbiome activities with implications for prebiotic or probiotic type 2 diabetes treatments
  • Summer Hanson, Surgery, University of Chicago
    Engineered Adipose Therapeutics for Reconstruction (EASTR):  Building a platform for adipose derived stem cell supplemented grafts
  • Solomon Afelik, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Defining the role of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in beta-cell regeneration from adult pancreatic duct cells
  • Robert Keenan and Tao Pan, Microbiology, University of Chicago
    Mechanisms of translational regulation by mRNA pseudouridine modification
  • Mengjie Chen, University of Chicago
    Leveraging single-cell multi-comics data and genetic studies to understand β-cell compensation failure in T2D
  • Yuwei Jiang, University of Illinois at Chicago
    The role of CCL22/CCR4 in beige adipocyte recruitment and metabolic health
  • Lisa Morselli, Medical College of Wisconsin
    Circulating Agouti-related peptide and glucagon-like peptide 1 secretion
  • Mary E. Rinella, University of Chicago
    Changes in Glucose Tolerance in Patients with Cirrhosis Peri-Liver Transplant