The NIH Common Fund and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA)
NEW INNOVATOR (DP2) AWARDS
The Common Fund is using ARRA funds to provide seven new early-stage investigators with NIH Director's New Innovator (DP2) Awards, making a total of fifty-two New Innovator awards in fiscal year 2009. The New Innovator award supports investigators with exceptionally innovative research ideas, but not necessarily preliminary data, to pursue projects that are inherently risky but have the potential for exceptional impact on biomedicine. The emphasis of the New Innovator award is on innovation and creativity. This award complements ongoing efforts by NIH and its institutes and centers to fund new investigators through R01 grants and other mechanisms. Unlike other types of NIH awards, the New Innovator Awards provide recipients with the necessary funds needed to pursue the project, with no annual budget requested in the application.
The ARRA supported New Innovator Awards address a range of scientific areas, including:
- Global Health:
- Nokolaos Chronis, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, A Biochip for Point-of-Care HIV/AIDS Diagnosis in the Developing Word (1-DP2-OD006458-01). Dr. Chronis is developing a new portable, inexpensive, MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems)-based imaging system for monitoring the clinical status of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) individuals in resource-limited settings.
- Diane Joyce Ordway, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Immune Modulation by Highly Virulent Clinical Isolates of M. Tuberculosis (1-DP2-OD006450-01). Dr. Ordway is using innovative transgene animal models to assess the role of specific immune cell (T cell) isolates in characterizing drug-sensitive and drug-resistant clinical strains of tuberculosis.
- High throughout screening:
- Leor Weinberger, University of California, San Diego, Developing Transmissible Antivirals by Exploiting Gene-Expression Circuitry (1-DP2-OD006677-01). Dr. Weinberger is using high throughout screening approaches to identify cellular genes that are necessary for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to go into hiding or become dormant, with the goal of exploiting these genes to prolong HIV dormancy and reduce the symptoms of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
- Justin Sonnenburg, Stanford University, Discovery of Gut Microbiota-targeted Small Molecules: New Tools and Therapeutics (1-DP2-OD-006515-01). Dr. Sonnenburg is using high throughout screening approaches to discover chemicals that kill specific bacteria in the gut and can be used both as research tools and as leads for therapeutic agents.
- Stem Cells
- Fernando Camargo, Children's Hospital Boston, Analysis of Stem Cell Dynamics and Differentiation by Cellular Barcoding (1-DP2-OD006472-01). Dr. Camargo is developing a novel experimental system using genetic tagging to study stem cell biology in aging and immunological disorders.
- Karen Christman, University of California, San Diego, Engineering a Dynamic Extracellular Matrix Microenvironment (3-DP2-OD004309-01/01S2). Dr. Christman is engineering a new model of the stem cell extracellular matrix to study the underlying biology of stem cell development, differentiation and utility in wound repair.
- Ipsita Banerjee, University of Pittsburgh, Defining MechanismsControlling Stem Cell Fate During Differentiation (1-DP2-OD006491-01). Dr Banerjee is determining how genetic and environmental factors influence and control embryonic stem cell differentiation into pancreatic islet cells, paving the way for development of new cell-based therapies for diabetes.
- Sohail Tavazoie, Rockefeller University, The Discovery of microRNAs that Predict Chemotherapeutic Responsiveness of Cancer (1-DP2-OD006506-01). Dr. Tavazoie is defining molecular signatures or profiles of epigenetic changes (microRNAs) that can be used to predict response to chemotherapeutics in animals and humans.