Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) Program

The overall objective of the University of Washington (UW) Nutrition Obesity Research Center Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) Program is to provide an infrastructure to support and effectively train the next generation of basic, translational, clinical and epidemiological scientists in the fields of nutrition, obesity and metabolism with a goal to enhance our knowledge and understanding of body weight regulation, the etiology and pathogenesis of nutrition-related disorders, to identify novel, therapeutic targets to prevent and treat obesity and to educate the broader community. The Specific Aims of the Program are to:

  • To provide junior investigators of high promise the opportunity to obtain crucial pilot data needed to launch their career and to compete successfully for independent peer-reviewed funding.
  • To provide a mechanism for encouraging talented junior investigators to embark on academic careers in nutrition/obesity research.
  • To support pilot projects by established investigators in other research fields into the area of nutrition and obesity research.

 

PILOT AND FEASIBILITY COLLABORATIVE PROGRAM 2022

This year, the Diabetes Research Center (DRC) will once again be collaborating with the UW Medicine Diabetes Institute (UWMDI) and UW Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC) in a joint Pilot and Feasibility Research Program. The program collectively offers multiple awards of $50,000/year for up to 2 years to promising investigators from any disciplinary background performing research in the fields of nutrition, metabolism, diabetes, and obesity. Proposals may include basic, clinical, translational, or population-based studies that align with one or more of the institutions’ respective research themes. Awards are funded by the NIH (P30 grants DK017047 and DK035816) and the UW.

The joint Pilot and Feasibility Research Program is now accepting applications for 2022 P&F Awards. Please download the 2022 P&F Letter of Intent Form and Reviewer Nomination Form. Visit the UW DRC website for more information and to submit your Letter of Intent and Reviewer Nomination Form.

 

Last years recipient:

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Meghan Koch, PhD, has been awarded a Pilot and Feasibility Award through the UW Nutrition Obesity Research Center for her project entitled: “Regulation of white adipose tissue function and energy balance by breastmilk antibodies.”

Dr. Koch received a doctorate in immunology in 2010 from the University of Washington. She conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley from 2011 to 2018, when she accepted a position as an assistant professor in the Basic Sciences Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Koch’s group studies maternal-offspring interactions, focusing on immunity, metabolism and the microbiota.

Project description: Accumulating epidemiological studies link breastfeeding with long-term metabolic health, yet the mechanisms underlying this association remain unclear. Using a mouse model system, Dr. Koch’s group recently identified maternal antibodies, transmitted via breastfeeding, as an essential regulator of healthy metabolism in offspring.  Offspring that do not receive maternal antibodies exhibit persistent perturbations in lipid homeostasis, including reduced adiposity, impaired glucose homeostasis and insulin resistance. This project seeks to understand the mechanisms linking this early life process (acquisition of breastmilk antibodies) with durable health outcomes (lipid homeostasis and insulin resistance). Breastmilk antibodies coat commensal bacteria in the guts of suckling offspring and mediate the initial host-microbiota interactions in neonates. Dr. Koch’s research has found that in the absence of breastmilk antibodies, neonates mount inappropriate adaptive immune responses to beneficial gut microbes. Owing to the ability of adaptive immune cells to form memory responses that persist throughout the life of the host, she hypothesizes that these dysregulated early life immune responses drive persistent impairments in metabolic function. Here, the Koch laboratory will characterize the metabolic dysfunction exhibited by offspring that don’t acquire breastmilk antibodies and assess the contribution of early life, dysregulated adaptive immune responses toward these long term metabolic impairments.

PILOT AND FEASIBILITY ADVANCE AWARDS

 
We are pleased to announce a call for proposals for Pilot and Feasibility Research ADVANCE Awards. This is a pilot and feasibility research reward for talented early career scientists from underrepresented groups. Proposals may include basic, clinical, translational, or population-based studies with a focus on nutrition, metabolism, and/or obesity and its co-morbidities.
 
LOI’s are due by Friday, October 15th. and can be submitted to uwnorc@uw.edu. Applications are due by Friday, December 3rd. 
 

Previous P&F Program Awardees

Meghan Koch, PhD
Meghan Koch, PhD

Department of Immunology
Regulation of white adipose tissue function and energy balance by breastmilk antibodies
07/01/2020 - 06/30/2022

Jarrad Scarlett, MD, PhD
Jarrad Scarlett, MD, PhD

Department of Pediatrics
Hypothalamic Mechanisms of FGF1-Mediated Remission of Diabetic Hyperglycemia
07/01/2016 - 06/30/2018

Mauricio Dorfman, PhD
Mauricio Dorfman, PhD

Department of Medicine
The Role of CNS CX3CL1-CX3CR1 Signaling in Estrogen-Mediated Protection Against Obesity and Diabetes
07/01/2015 - 06/30/2017

Jenny Kanter, PhD
Jenny Kanter, PhD

Department of Medicine
A Novel Model of Type 2 Diabetes-accelerated Atherosclerosis
07/01/2014 - 06/30/2016

Davene Wright, PhD
Davene Wright, PhD

Department of Pediatrics
Parent Attitudes Toward Child Health and Weight
07/01/2014 - 06/30/2016

Michelle Averill, PhD
Michelle Averill, PhD

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
The Effects of Dietary Glycemic Load on Postprandial Lipemia and HDL Composition and Function
07/01/2013 - 06/30/2015

Laura den Hartigh, PhD
Laura den Hartigh, PhD

Department of Medicine
Trans-10, Cis-12 Conjugated Linoleic Acid Enhances Lipid Utilization in Adipocytes by Increasing Mitochondrial Metabolism and Insulin Resistance
07/01/2012 - 06/30/2014

Katya Rubinow, MD
Katya Rubinow, MD

Department of Medicine
Androgen-mediated Pathway in the Regulation of Insulin Sensitivity in Men
07/01/2012 - 06/30/2014

Joshua Thaler, MD, PhD
Joshua Thaler, MD, PhD

Department of Medicine
The Development Role of PPAR-y in Adult Metabolism
07/01/2011 - 06/30/2013

Mario Kratz, PhD, MS
Mario Kratz, PhD, MS

Department of Epidemiology and Medicine
Vitamin D and Low-grade Adipose Tissue Inflammation
07/01/2011 - 06/30/2013

Tomas Vaisar, PhD
Tomas Vaisar, PhD

Department of Medicine
Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Diet Supplementation on HDL and its Biological Activity
07/01/2009 - 06/30/2011

Carole Wilson, PhD
Carole Wilson, PhD

Medical University of South Carolina
ADAM17-mediated Proteolysis in Diet-induced Obesity
07/01/2009 - 06/30/2011

Andrew Hoofnagle, MD, PhD
Andrew Hoofnagle, MD, PhD

Department of Laboratory Medicine
HDL and Cardiovascular Risk in Chronic Kidney Disease
07/01/2007 - 06/30/2009


Program Leadership

Greg Morton, PhD
Greg Morton, PhD

Program Director gjmorton@uw.edu