The Hopkins Conte Digestive Diseases Basic and Translational Research Core Center was established in June of 2011 to advance fundamental and translational gastrointestinal research at Hopkins. The Core mission is to bring together GI investigators and encourage others in the community to enter this area of research. This is accomplished by:

  1. Providing cutting-edge resources that are too expensive or labor intensive to be maintained by most individual laboratories
  2. Generating an environment that supports the intellectual activities of center members through seminars, symposia and work-in-progress updates on GI-related research
  3. Funding Pilot/Feasibility projects

The Pilot/Feasibility Projects (P/FP) are key components of Core activities. The P/FPs are the $10,000-$25,000 typically given each year to 4 investigators. There is no requirement for permanent residence status or US citizenship, preference is given to young investigators (see criteria of eligibility below). Funding is usually for one year. All recipients of P/F project funding are required to submit a yearly update on their progress for 5 years.

Pilot Project applications are due on March 15, 2018. Funding begins July 1, 2018.


Three groups of JHUSOM investigators are encouraged to apply.

  1. New investigators who have never held extramural NIH support other than a K or R03 award and have not been PIs on R, P or U grants are the preferred group for funding. Those with MD, PhD or MD/PhD are eligible, junior faculty or will be junior faculty at start of this funding.
  2. Established investigators who are interested in entering the GI field and initiate the GI-related projects.
  3. GI investigators who are starting a new, innovative project that represents a significant departure from their on-going, funded research.

The order above (1>2>3) represents the priority for selecting projects for funding. Investigators may generally receive P/F support only once in any 5-year period. Consideration can be given for a second year upon submission of a formal application, which must include a progress report.


  1. The proposed research must be related to a GI topic.
  2. The project proposes to use one or more of the Center’s Core resources/services
  1. The P/FP awardees are expected to provide TWO written summaries of scientific achievements, publications, funding applied for and achieved; at 6 months and at the end of P/F funding period.
  2. The P/FPs awardees are expected to participate and present their research at a Center’s work-in-progress meeting.


  1. Applications are submitted electronically (by-e-mail) by March 15, 2018 to Ms. Esther Choi (  and Dr. S. Lutsenko ( Only fully completed applications that follow the format described below will be considered.
  2. The $10,000-$25,000 for one year can be used to cover expenses for salary (technician, postdoctoral fellow, NOT faculty), supplies, animals.
  3. Format:
    1. Cover page (Please use form on next page), which includes title, abstract up to 250 words (can be Arial 10) and pending/approved IACUC/IRB protocols
    2. NIH Biosketch of applicant and mentor (if applicable)
    3. Applicant’s other support (salary source, etc)
    4. Budget and Justification for funds requested
    5. Specific Aims, Background, Preliminary Results, Research Plan, Future Directions: total 3 pages, font size Arial 11
    6. Plans to apply for extramural funding: topic and time frame: 1 page
    7. References: 1 page
    8. Letter from PI, mentor(s), Department Chair or Division Chief stating how this project will allow you to advance independence and further your career, with emphasis on establishing independence


The center’s Internal Scientific Advisory Committee will triage the proposals based on the eligibility criteria. The top applications (typically 50% of submitted) will be reviewed by the Core Center’s External Scientific Advisory Committee. The finalists will present their projects at the Annual meeting of the Core External Scientific Advisory Committee on June 1, 2018.  Funding will be announced shortly thereafter.

For additional information, please contact: Esther Choi ( or Dr. Svetlana Lutsenko (

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