School of Biological Sciences and School of Medicine

The School of Biological Sciences and the School of Medicine have established a pilot-funding program to help faculty initiate innovative research projects in novel areas of investigation. These pilot awards bring together faculty from the two schools to attack a common problem.

Direct your questions about BioSci-SOM pilot funding to Melinda Gormley at

2017 Awards

Clinical and Behavioral Investigations of Human Photopigment Opsin Gene Variations and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Cristina Kenney, Professor, Ophthalmology Research
Adriana Briscoe, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Kimberly A. Jameson, Project Scientist, Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences
This interdisciplinary project investigates clinical, biological and behavioral modeling impacts of human photopigment opsin gene mutations on AMD severity and risk, and aims to achieve innovative basic research advances and translate those advances to clinical assessment procedures.

Molecular and Imaging Approaches to Visualize Mechanotransduction in Human Neural Development
Medha Pathak, Assistant Professor, Physiology and Biophysics
Ian Parker, Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior
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
Stephen Mahler, Assistant Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior
Gary Lynch, Professor, Anatomy and Neurobiology
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
Katrine Whiteson, Assistant Professor, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Nimisha Parekh, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology
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
James W. Hicks, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Steven L. Small, Professor, Neurology
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.