University of Nebraska Medical Center

Pilot Projects Program

The Nebraska Center for Molecular Target Discovery and Development seeks to fund innovative and thoughtful projects in its thematic focus area of molecular target discovery and development.

These awards are intended to enable the recipient to collect preliminary data in support of applications for external research funding at the federal level. As a center participant, pilot investigators will benefit from the center’s scientific and career development guidance.

Pilot funding also will facilitate access to the research support services offered by the center’s scientific cores, including the High-Throughput Screening and Computational Chemistry Core, the Mass Spectrometry Core, and the Target Validation Core. 

Applicant Eligibility

The center aims to facilitate career advancement of promising junior faculty in the area of targeted therapeutics. Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have junior investigator status and hold a tenure-leading faculty appointment at the University of Nebraska at the rank of assistant professor or equivalent (or will hold such an appointment at the time the award is made); and
  • Have not yet received external, peer-reviewed Research Project Grant or Program Project Grant funding as a project director or principal investigator. Grants for which an individual serves in another role do not disqualify that investigator. AREA grants, exploratory/pilot project grants such as NIH R03 and R21 awards, mentored career development awards such as NIH K01 and K08 awards, or other federal or non-federal funding whose purpose is to provide preliminary support in anticipation of a Research Project Grant or a Program Project Grant also do not disqualify the investigator.
  • Postdoctoral fellows or other positions that do not carry independent faculty status are ineligible.

Previous Pilot Project Award Recipients

  • “Identification and Characterization of Novel Antimalarial Therapeutics”
    Principal Investigator: Caroline Ng, PhD, Assistant Professor, UNMC Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
  • “Novel Determinants of Transcriptional Regulation of Glutamine Metabolism in CRC”
    Principal Investigator: Kurt Fisher, PhD, Assistant Professor, UNMC Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology