The University of Michigan Center for Gastrointestinal Research (UMCGR) invites applications for microbiome-related Pilot Projects that are focused on interactions between gut microbes and the gut epithelium.  Funded projects will take advantage of a new service provided by the Microbiome Core that permits simultaneous cultivation of strictly anaerobic bacteria with a 2-dimensional colonic epithelium derived from human colonic stem cells.
The system is suitable for projects exploring the effects of metabolically active microbes on host epithelial physiology. This system has been successfully employed with endpoints including RNA-sequencing and NFkB activity (as a surrogate for inflammation). Exploratory and developmental proposals using this system are encouraged.
Funded proposals will be focused on any of the broad areas of GI function and disease that are part of the UMCGR.  (http://www.med.umich.edu/mgpc/)
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be current members of the GI Center or be eligible for membership. The intent is for pilot projects to generate results that can be used in subsequent grant proposals.
Format: The application should have the following sections:
- Brief background and purpose of the project (limit to 250 words)
- Significance and Relevance to the UMCGR mission (limit to 100 words)
- Potential Use of Results for a grant application (what type of grant, and anticipated application date; 200-word limit).
- Up to two optional figures, each with up to a 100-word legend.
- References
- NIH biosketch of the PI applicant
- Documentation of active and pending other support
Deadline: The application deadline is Monday January 11th, 2021. Applications should be submitted through the Medical School Office of Research web portal. The pilot program will launch late this week, and a link will be sent out to the application.
Budget: The Center will cover 2/3 of the total cost of a pilot project with the remaining 1/3 to be provided by the PI.  A maximum of $6,000 from the UMCGR (along with $3,000) from the PI laboratory is to cover expenses directly related to the co-culture experiment including the cost of cell lines from the TTML core, RNA-seq, and direct assays for cytokines, transcription factors or other relevant markers.  The investigator should agree that the funds will be spent by the end of April 2021 with preliminary data to be obtained by June.
Review process: Pilot applications will be reviewed by a microbiome-focused group at the UMCGR with a final funding decision made by the Center's Executive Committee. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Thomas Schmidt (schmidti@umich.edu) - Director of the Microbiome Core – before developing proposals.  Applicants will be notified if they are successful by Friday January 29th with funding to begin immediately thereafter.