Research News
Monthly Newsletter
October 2013
Research Town Hall 
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
5:00 - 6:00 PM
Dow Auditorium, Towsley Center
First in the series of Medical School Town Halls announced by Dean Woolliscroft in his State of the School address, we invite you to join Dr. Kunkel and other UMMS leadership for an update on major developments in our research community, including the latest "fast forward" investments and milestones of the Strategic Research Initiative.


Save the Date

Kickoff! Protein Folding Diseases Initiative

Friday, December 13, 2013

11:30 AM

Palmer Commons

Join Medical School leadership as we "fast forward" the Protein Folding Diseases Initiative and welcome special guest speaker Aaron Gitler, Ph.D., a rising star in protein folding diseases at Stanford University.



5th Annual Stefan S. Fajans Lecture in Diabetes and U-M Internal Medicine Grand Rounds Lecture

Featuring Phillip Gorden, M.D., Director Emeritus and Senior Investigator, National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health

Friday, October 18, 2013

Publish or Perish: Learn About Open Access Mandates

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Other Sources for Seminars + Events


Calendars at Health System Headlines 


To find seminars throughout campus on basic, clinical and translational research, view the "Research Seminars and Events"...


Announcement Category - Subscribe to the feed for this category to receive emails containing complete information.




View additional resources.


Internal Submissions


U-M Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities Pilot Grants

Deadline: October 29, 2013


External Open Submissions


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Grand Challenges Explorations - Round 12

Deadline: November 12, 2013



Available through the Michigan Experts tool.


Fact Sheets & Hot Topics
Find UMHS facts & figures for your next proposal!

MBECT Tips & Tricks 


UMMS Office of Research


U-M Medical School


Office of Research Progress Report

Recent milestones to support your research

In the Office of Research, our mission is to focus on you (the research team), so you can focus on great science. Here are some of our most recent achievements to support you in your work:

  • The Strategic Research Initiative launched two programs:
    • The Host Microbiome Program Kickoff was held on September 26, 2013. Dr. Lita Proctor, NIH Human Microbiome coordinator, gave the keynote to an audience of over 125 participants.
    • The kickoff for the Protein Folding Diseases Initiative will take place on Friday, December 13, 2013 at 11:30 AM in Palmer Commons.
  • The Office of Research is conducting a survey to understand the demand for the types of services that could be offered from an epigenetics core. The survey takes no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete. Please consider providing your valuable input through this survey.
  • In September, the Biomedical Research Core Facilities (BRCF) launched MiCores, a new core management system from iLab Solutions. MiCores streamlines billing and financial processes, provides online scheduling and more. The system will be implemented in three waves, with the Flow Cytometry Core, Bioinformatics Core, Sample Preservation Freezer Facility and Metabolomics Core now using the system. All BRCF Cores will be using the system by the end of 2014.
  • UM-MTRAC received the first round of proposals in September. Reviews are underway for the 39 proposals that were submitted in four different domain areas: therapeutics, devices, diagnostics, and healthcare IT technologies. Funding for the projects selected will be announced early in the new year.
  • Researchpalooza, hosted by the UMMS Office of Research in conjunction with the UMHS Ice Cream Social, continues to provide a venue for thousands of faculty and staff to mix and mingle with team members from many offices and labs who serve biomedical research across campus.
  • The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) Michigan Clinical Research Unit (MCRU) went live with MiChart, allowing Research Study Teams to view electronically-entered research documentation in real-time. This documentation was previously done on paper.
  • Michigan Experts, an online tool highlighting U-M faculty research expertise managed by the Medical School's Office of Research and Medical School Information Services (MSIS), continues to grow as faculty from more U-M schools, colleges or institutes are added.

Write Winning NIH Grant Proposals:

A Workshop by David Morrison, Ph.D.

Be sure to register by October 11!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Dow Auditorium, Towsley Center


Co-sponsored by the UMMS Office of Research and the MICHR Education and Mentoring Group, this widely acclaimed seminar addresses practical and conceptual aspects of the proposal writing process (with emphasis on NIH applications). The presenter, David Morrison, Ph.D., is one of the most sought after presenters of workshops on writing NIH grant proposals. Participants will learn to prepare a competitive grant proposal by:

  • incorporating knowledge of the peer review process in a persuasive research description
  • formulating a focused research plan that incorporates well-formulated hypotheses, rationales, specific objectives, and long-range research goals
  • developing and justifying a budget for the proposed research activities
  • using existing resources at the University of Michigan in research proposal development
  • avoiding many common grant writing mistakes.

This workshop is open to everyone interested in developing their NIH grant writing skills. CME credit is available.


Registration Deadline: October 11, 2013

Since course materials must be pre-ordered, we are unable to accept late / walk-in registrations.



$125 for UM Participants (payable by shortcode or credit card)

$150 for Non-UM Participants


All those registered as of October 12 will receive The Grant Application Writer's Workbook - National Institutes of Health Version (a $75.00 value) as well as other course materials.


Register and view complete information (including the agenda) at:


Download a flyer to post in your area.


Follow this event on Twitter with hashtag #MICHRWWG13. Tweet your questions to us before or during the event.


The Government Shutdown, Sequestration & The Future of Medical Research

Medicine that Speaks

by Ora Pescovitz, M.D., EVPMA, University of Michigan

CEO, University of Michigan Health System


As you know, these are concerning times. It's hard to comprehend that the government of the United States of America has been closed for business for nearly a week now. Recently, I had occasion to meet with colleagues in three different settings to discuss common and pressing concerns. The day before the shutdown, I met with the advisory board to the director of the Clinical Center at the NIH. A few days earlier, I met with the board of the Association of Academic Health Centers and before that with a collective of CEOs of major health-related organizations. All of us are deeply concerned about what awaits with respect to federal funding for research, the Affordable Care Act, Health Care Exchanges and more. I imagine these topics are top of mind for you, as well.


Read more.


John A. Williams - Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award Ceremony and Lecture

"Let Us All Raise Our Glasses to the Pancreas"

Monday, December 9, 2013

4:00 - 5:15 PM

Dan and Betty Kahn Auditorium, Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building (BSRB)

A reception will follow the lecture in the Taubman BSRB Atrium.


The Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) and the Medical School Office of Research are pleased to honor John A. Williams, M.D., Ph.D., Horace W. Davenport Collegiate Professor of Physiology, Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, and Professor of Internal Medicine, as the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award in Biomedical Research. This award, initiated in 1979, continues to be the highest honor bestowed by the Medical School upon a faculty member for research in the biomedical sciences. Dr. Williams is being recognized for his numerous research accomplishments, a strong focus on teaching and mentoring, and his valuable leadership to science, the Medical School, and the university. His extensive contributions have included serving as chair of the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology for 21 years, teaching and mentoring primary and joint faculty and as director of a training grant (Training in Systems & Integrative Biology) for 20 years. Dr. Williams also started the expansion of the department's scientific focus and status as a leader in research and graduate education.


Dr. Williams is highly respected in the national and international research communities for his leading research contributions in shaping the field of pancreatic physiology. For over 30 years, his research has dealt with the control of function of the exocrine pancreas. Initially this work focused on the control of digestive enzyme secretion and continues to be centered on the molecular mechanism of exocytosis and the proteomics of the zymogen granule. This work has also been expanded to embrace the control of digestive enzyme synthesis, the regulation of pancreatic growth, and the cellular mechanisms involved in rodent models of experimental pancreatitis. Overall, important and numerous areas of pancreatic biology have been influenced by Dr. Williams's work.


Attend an MBECT Focus Group to Help Make the Tool Better!

Have you ever felt frustrated or confused while trying to use MBECT? Have you ever thought of a way that MBECT could be changed to make your job easier? Do you have a separate spreadsheet to keep track of something outside of MBECT? This is your chance to tell us about it! A representative from the vendor, eThority, will be onsite and we are arranging focus groups to have discussions about just this kind of thing for future changes to the product. We made a major overhaul in March 2013 based on user feedback when we transitioned to the new platform, but that doesn't mean we have to stop here. Sessions will focus on:

  • New features based on your feedback coming soon!
  • Features users would like to see or would like to have changed.
  • An overview of how the financial modules can help your team and guidance on implementing them for your area.
  • Discussions about how MBECT can replace spreadsheets with automated and flexible reporting options.

Sessions will be on the medical campus at Medical Science Building II on October 28-October 30.

Register to attend a session!


Contact the help desk with any questions at [email protected] or by calling 734-764-5669.


Thank you!

The MBECT Team


Host Microbiome Initiative Launches

A Program of the Strategic Research Initiative

"Outside of the NIH, the University of Michigan is the only organization in the U.S. that I know of focusing on the human microbiome," noted Lita Proctor, Ph.D. and Project Manager of the Human Microbiome Project at the National Institutes of Health. "There are various labs and individual researchers, but this is the ONLY place where there is an institutional commitment to this important area of research."


And with that, Dr. Proctor helped kick off the Host Microbiome Initiative, part of the Medical School's Strategic Research Initiative. Dean Woolliscroft, UMMS leadership, and over 100 researchers and staff came together on October 26 to learn more about how we will be "fast forwarding" host microbiome research at the U-M with significant investments in infrastructure and hiring.


Attendees at the kickoff learned more about how the Host Microbiome Initiative already has a new molecular biology lab devoted to microbiome survey and analysis up and running in MSRB I. More germ-free facilities to support advanced microbial cultivation are also slated, plus the Initiative is also supporting expansion of the germ-free animal facility run by ULAM.


Under the leadership of Harry Mobley, Ph.D. and Vincent Young, M.D., Ph.D., hiring is in the future too, with plans to grow the team with the addition of microbial experts in physiology, genomics, bioinformatics, and other specialties.


Learn more about the Host Microbiome Initiative.


NIH-Group: Your Conduit for Important NIH Information

Whether you are a post doc or an endowed chair, it is essential to join [email protected] to keep abreast of:

  • updates to grant policies, procedures, and software
  • important deadlines and reports
  • new grant opportunities (released within last week)
  • limited submission NIH grant opportunities (from both Institutes and the Director's Office) with internal deadlines
  • limited submission grant opportunities from health science related foundations with internal deadlines.

The Office of Research & Sponsored Projects (ORSP) administers and moderates this email group. To join, please go to:


If you are reluctant to receive more email messages (usually not more than two per week), please consider assigning a departmental administrator to monitor the messages and pass along important information, e.g., NIH Director's Early Independence Awards; RPPR vs. SNAP vs. eSNAP, payline updates.


IRBMED Is Working with Central IRBs

Compliance Corner - Human Research

U-M has recently finalized a Master Services Agreement with Chesapeake IRB. Under this Agreement, U-M may cede regulatory oversight of new, industry-sponsored, Phase 3 or 4 multi-site trials to Chesapeake IRB.


Study teams will need to complete the "Request Review by a Non-UM IRB" (AKA, Ceding) Application within eResearch and receive an acknowledgement letter before applying to Chesapeake IRB. Study teams will then complete a Site Application with Chesapeake IRB, and receive approval from Chesapeake IRB before beginning any research related activities.


U-M is negotiating Master Agreements with additional central IRBs. As these are completed, details will be posted on our website and an informational session will be offered.


For more information, please visit the IRBMED website or contact IRBMED directly.


Additional Note on Staff Updates at IRBMED

IRBMED is pleased to announce that the position of Education Coordinator has been filled by Kate Sasamoto, J.D. Kate is a current member of the IRBMED staff, and began transitioning to the role of Education Coordinator on October 1, 2013.


IRBMED is also pleased to announce that Linda Cholewa, B.S., has joined IRBMED as the Assistant Regulatory Analyst for the B1 Regulatory Team (effective September 3, 2013), and Nicole Duffy, B.S., has joined as the Assistant Regulatory Analyst for the C1 Regulatory Team (effective September 9, 2013).


Industry Paid Travel FAQ

The Office of Regulatory Affairs receives many questions about when travel expenses can be paid for or reimbursed by Industry. Most questions involve biomedical companies that are also University vendors. As such, in addition to Medical School Policies, the UMHS Vendor Policy and the University Purchasing SPG 507.01 are applicable to the question at hand. Together, these policies prohibit accepting paid or reimbursed travel for the following:

  • To the company or other facility to see a product demonstrated, e.g., a new cardiac device;
  • To a company or other site for training, e.g., to learn how to implant a new orthopedic device the University recently purchased;
  • To an educational meeting or conference, e.g., to attend the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Annual meeting. Accepting travel when you are a speaker may be allowed, if compliant with the Industry-Sponsored Speaking Policy.

 Please contact us if you have any questions about travel or other issues at [email protected] or 734-647-1576. 


The NIH Payline Picture

Sharpening the Focus: Tips on Grant Proposal Preparation

By Chris Black, M.L.S., Assistant Director for Research Development Support, Office of Research

(One in a series of tips published in UMMS Research News about writing proposals.)


Before applying to NIH for funding, it makes sense to find out the payline (i.e., funding cutoff point) for the target Institute (IC). (The August 2012 "Sharpening the Focus" article explains paylines and percentiles.)

In most cases, it is a not pretty picture; but as Louis Pasteur said, "Fortune favors the prepared mind."


So here is a brief look at some of the Institute paylines across NIH (if the payline data are available), as compiled by "Medical Writing, Editing & Grantsmanship" as of July 31, 2013:

  • NCI ($4.8B budget): FY13: 9th percentile for R01s & R21s (applications at higher percentiles considered on a case-by-case basis to fill gaps and address high priority needs, with special consideration to new/ESI applications); priority score of 25 for R03s.
  • NIAID ($4.2B): FY13 payline: 8th percentile for established PIs/12th percentile for new/ESI PIs for R01s; impact score of 20 for R03s & R21s; 26 for Ks except K99; 30 for F31s, 25 for F32s; 26 for R41/42 (STTR); 22 for R43/R44 (SBIR); 14 for T32s.
  • NHLBI ($2.9B): FY13 payline: 11th/21st percentile for established/ESI R01s; 11th percentile for R21s; impact scores 10 for P01s and 20 for P01 subprojects; 25 for Ks; 25 for T32/35s; 15 for F30s; and 30th percentile for F31/F32/F33s. (Note: submit 4 year budgets only!)
  • NIDDK ($1.7B): FY13 payline of 11th percentile for R01s (Type 1 or 2) from established investigators (7th percentile for R01s with budgets >$500K), 16th percentile from ESI investigators.
  • NINDS ($1.5B): FY13: 14th percentile for R01s; will fund new investigators with percentiles beyond the formal payline.
  • NIMH ($1.4B): FY13: 10th percentile for R01s (special consideration of new/ESI applicants but no stated payline break).
  • NICHD ($1.2B): FY13 paylines: 9th/13th percentile for established/new-ESI investigators; 7th percentile for R03s & R21s; 8th percentile for P01s; 16th percentile for Fs; priority score of 30 for R13/U13, 20 for R34s, 33 for STTR, 38 for SBIR, 18 for Ks, 17 for T32s.
  • NIA ($1.0B): FY13 payline for R01s below $500K at 11th percentile, with new investigator applications considered up to the 14th percentile and ESI to the 16th percentile; R01s above $500K at the 8th percentile, with new investigator applications considered up to the 11th percentile and ESI up to the 13th percentile; priority score of 13 for P01s & NIA-reviewed RPGs (some R01s, R34s, U01s, & U19s).
  • NIEHS ($645M): FY13 payline adjusted down from 15th to 13th percentile for R01s, R03s, and R21s.
  • NIAMS ($504M): FY13: 12th/15th percentile for established/new PI R01s, 12th percentile for R21s, impact score of 20 for R03s 26 for SBIRs & STTRs, 24 for F31/F32/F33s, 30 for K01/K02/K08/K25s, 29 for K23/K24s, 17 for K99s, 17 for T32s.
  • NLM ($318M): FY13: For experienced investigators, applications with scores 30 or better are the most likely to be funded. For Early Stage Investigators and New Investigators seeking their first R01 research grant, and for K award applicants, applications with scores of 35 or better will be considered for funding.
  • NIBIB ($318M): FY13 payline at 9th/14th percentile for established/new investigator R01s; 9th percentile for R21s; impact score at 20 for R03s; 9th percentile for U01s; impact score of 24 (interim) for SBIR.

Summary: There is variation of both the paylines and the priorities at each IC. In most cases new stage investigators get a payline break. The bottom line is to be sure to have a conversation with a program officer before you submit to make sure your proposal meets their priorities. And have your proposal reviewed prior to submissions to prepare the most competitive, comprehensive, impactful proposal possible! 

Office of Research
Our mission in the Office of Research is to foster an environment of innovation and efficiency that serves the U-M Medical School community and supports biomedical science from insight to impact.