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Pilot Funding Awards

The pilot funding program launched by the UCI schools of medicine and biological sciences is designed to help our faculty members initiate collaborative and innovative research projects in novel areas of investigation, with the expectation that principal investigators will subsequently submit extramural funding proposals.

These awards are funded jointly by the School of Medicine and the UCI School of Biological Sciences

Learn more about the 2018-2019 pilot award competition ›


The following teams received up to $50,000 to pursue their research projects for the 2017-2018:

  • Clinical and Behavioral Investigations of Human Photopigment Opsin Gene Variations and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

    This interdisciplinary project investigates clinical, biological and behavioral modeling impacts of human photopigment opsin gene mutations on AMD severity and risk. It aims to achieve innovative basic research advances and translate those advances into clinical assessment procedures.

  • Molecular and Imaging Approaches to Visualize Mechanotransduction in Human Neural Development

    This project seeks to develop molecular and imaging approaches to answer a major question in developmental biology: How do cells transduce mechanical forces to shape biochemical and genetic programs?

  • Contribution of Hippocampal Dopamine to the Excessive Persistence of Pathological Memories

    This project examines how significant emotional experiences enhance episodic memory formation and storage, and seeks to identify novel dopaminergic drug targets for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Microbial Community Composition following Fecal Transplant for Recurrent C. difficile Infection

    This project aims to improve understanding of the mechanisms underlying the effects of fecal microbiota transplants, which are known to be the most effective treatment for recurring Clostridia difficile infections.

  • Sports-related Concussion

    Concussion is a large-scale and long-term health issue that lacks a clear definition. This project aims to produce a physiologically based definition of concussion for use in identifying and stratifying patients.