Pilot Projects Program
The goal of the Pilot Projects Program is to stimulate growth of expertise and engagement in clinical and translational research. This program will fund a variety of awards and provide a mechanism for clinician/non-clinician teams to develop promising new translational research projects focused on cancer.
By enrolling in the DaCCoTA Pathfinder, you can search and view the research profiles of other scientists and clinicians in the DaCCoTA Network to find collaborators.
Pilot Awards Offered Through the DaCCoTA
The Community Engagement Pilot Grant Awards are intended for those projects addressing priority areas as determined by key stakeholder groups including the American Cancer Society, Community Health Association of the Dakotas, ND Department of Health, and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board. Proposals should address cancer disparities in either:
- Colorectal cancer screening, stage and diagnosis, treatment, and mortality
- Tobacco-related cancers (Lung, CRC, etc.) or
- Breast cancer screening, stage at diagnosis, and mortality
The Ready-to-Go Pilot Awards are intended for those projects with existing significant preliminary data in support of a novel clinical/translational cancer-related hypothesis. These projects should ideally be ready for extramural submission within a year and/or be able to demonstrably improve health outcomes. Applications can consider the multilevel manifestations of cancer (e.g. neurological, psychiatric), demographic risks and social impact. Applications will focus on T2-T4 translational research, although T1 studies will be considered if there is a clear plan to progress to T2-T4. Successful completion of these proposals should lead to a collaborative extramural grant submission and peer-reviewed manuscript submission.
- Dr. Combs is Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He studies signaling mechanisms in both excitable and non-excitable cells, and his lab has been instrumental in studying the MAP kinase pathway and its role in cell proliferation and development. Recently, he has branched out into studying the role of glia cells in neuroblastoma formation. He also has experience working with preclinical models and has worked with several clinicians to translate many of his findings. He recently began working with VA investigators to identify the role of the microbiome in various diseases. He has published more than 70 publications in high-profile journals and is a principal investigator on three R01 grants. He is a standing member of both NIH and VA study sections and serves on the editorial board of numerous journals.
- Dr. Venkatachalem is an Associate Professor who directs a cellular physiology and biochemistry laboratory in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the School of Pharmacy at North Dakota State University (NDSU). The primary focus of Dr. Venkatachalem’s research is sex/gender differences in lung disease. He also studies cancer nanomedicine therapy by examining sex steroids and the signaling of their specific receptors in the breast cancer. Dr. Venkatachalem received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Madras and completed his initial postdoctoral training in physiology at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He received further training and worked in pre-clinical research settings at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for 10 years. Currently, he is establishing pre-clinical and translational research collaborations between NDSU and clinicians at Veterans Affairs and the Sanford Hospitals in Fargo. Dr. Venkatachalem’s laboratory is supported by multiple research grants including an NIH R01, NIH Sex/Gender Research supplement, and ND EPSCoR as well as funding from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute.
Contact DaCCoTA if you have any questions about the Pilot Projects Program.