12 scientists kick off effort to boost grant-funding savvy

In face of shrinking federal budget, ITHS names 1st group of early-stage researchers to 'Rising Stars' mentorships

By Derek Fulwiler  |  HSNewsBeat  |  Updated 9:15 AM, 05.27.2015

Posted in: Education

  • Sara Kover, UW assistant professor of speech and hearing sciences, will study how to establish word-learning tasks in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Biomedical researchers are struggling these days to fuel scientific pursuits. Cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget are squeezing many investigators, particularly those early in their careers. Other endowments and funding sources are turning away large numbers of highly-qualified applicants. 
Sujata Pradhan, UW assistant professor or rehabilitation therapy, will study how physical activity relates to the physical function of people with Parkinson's disease.
picture of Sujata Pradhan helping an elderly man with balance therapy
These mounting challenges persuaded the University of Washington’s Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) to launch a program to help promising, early-stage investigators to put their best foot forward in applying for dollars that remain on the table.

"Rising Stars," the program, just announced its first group of 12 investigators selected from applicants across the five-state WWAMI region of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. 

On June 1, each participant begins 
a two-year career-development package designed to culminate with to the submission of a K- or R-series grant application to the NIH. Cohort members will receive mentoring and instruction in grant-writing, monthly check-ins from peers to get feedback on projects, and will face mock grant reviews. Each also receives funding of up to $15,000 to support development of their grant application.

“We want to train the next generation of clinical and translational researchers to better establish themselves in their fields," said Dr. Mary (Nora) Disis, associate dean for translational science in the UW School of Medicine. "We believe this program will help them to successfully secure the NIH funding critical to their professional growth.” 
Cynthia Curl, right, assistant professor of community and environmental health at Boise State University in Idaho, will study the effect of an organic diet on pregnancy.
picture of Cynthia Curl standing in a grocery produce department with a female college student who is pregnant.
Among the research aims of the inaugural 12: understanding how primary-care doctors treat patients with bipolar disorder; detecting metabolic biomarkers sensitive and specific to breast cancer; and defining physical-activity levels as they relate to individuals' function with Parkinson's disease.

“The program is an excellent way to foster connections with exceptional clinicians as well as other young faculty who are drawn to translational science,” said Stephanie McCalla, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Montana State University and a cohort member. 

This program was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant Number UL1TR000423.

Links to bios and details of each cohort member's research focus are available in this spreadsheet.  Please visit the ITHS website to learn more about Rising Stars.
Tagged with: National Institutes of Health, biomedical research, Institute of Translational Health Sciences
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