NIH funding opportunity – Small Research Grants for Establishing Basic Science-Clinical Collaborations to Understand Structural Birth Defects (R03)

June 14, 2016 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The intent of this FOA is to support basic scientists, physician scientists (including individuals with DVM/VMD degrees), and/or clinicians in a collaborative effort to develop a multi-pronged research program focused on the etiology of a structural birth defect.  The R03 funding will specifically support formulation of the overall collaborative experimental approaches as well as the collection of preliminary data to support a future, larger grant application such as an R01.

The first aspect of developing an interdisciplinary collaboration is often time spent breaking down barriers between differing disciplines and establishing effective lines of communication.  For example, it is anticipated that pediatricians might need to learn more about developmental biology and genomics while developmental biologists might need to learn more about human genetics or epidemiology.  Therefore, part of the R03 should be devoted to the cross-disciplinary discussions necessary to build the foundation for the experimental approaches to tackle the problem at hand.

Depending on the combination of experimental approaches to be undertaken, the areas of expertise required are expected to vary.  For birth defects research to succeed in the long run, it is clear that interdisciplinary teams including but not limited to the following are necessary:  developmental biologists, cell biologists, geneticists, genomicists, clinicians, veterinarians with animal modeling and comparative medicine expertise, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, and/or bioinformaticists.  Therefore, the collaborative R03 should minimally include at least two PD/PIs with differing expertise.  Expertise from both the basic science side of the spectrum as well as the clinical side should be engaged in the R03 research.  The multiple PD/PI model is strongly encouraged but not required.

The scope of the research proposed is expected to vary as well.  The proposed studies should develop, adapt, and use approaches to identify genetic contributions as well as environmental interactions and other non-genetic determinants that contribute to various structural birth defects.  It is clear that genetic factors can be the primary cause of structural birth defects and/or may act in concert with environmental exposures.  Genetic and epigenetic factors provide a basis for functional studies in animal models or cell culture systems such as patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells.  Introducing genetic variants into animal model systems can bolster the causative role of the variant as well as provide insight into the embryological mechanisms underlying structural birth defects.  Depending on the birth defect in question, the most appropriate model(s) will vary.  Examples of research areas that are appropriate for this FOA are described below.  This is not intended to be all-inclusive, but is designed merely to provide guidance and direction for applicants.

Specific research interests of participating Institutes are listed at the URL below.

Deadlines:  standard dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities