Research News
January 2014

Developing Successful Scientific Papers for Publication for Faculty

Tuesday, May 13

2 Sessions: 

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM or 12:00 PM - 2:00PM

BSRB Seminar Rooms



New Tools for Diving Deep into the Metabolome and Application to Pancreatic Beta Cells

Thursday, January 30

1:00 PM

Cure Room,

5050 Brehm Tower


Join Dr. Robert T. Kennedy, Hobart H. Willard Collegiate Professor of Chemistry, College of Literature, Science and the Arts; Professor of Pharmacology, University of Michigan Medical School as he discusses new tools for the metabolome, specifically focusing on their application to pancreatic beta cells.



Resources for Analyzing Metabolomic and Gene Data

Friday, February 14

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Taubman Learning Center,

2802 Medical Sciences Bldg. 2

1137 Catherine Street,

Medical Campus


This hands-on workshop, hosted by the Taubman Health Sciences Library, will present an overview of MetScape (used to visualize and interpret metabolomics and gene expression data in the context of human metabolic networks) and Metab2MeSH (which annotates compounds with concepts defined in MeSH).  MetScape is a Cytoscape app that visualizes compound networks and displays information about related reactions, enzymes, and pathways. Metab2MeSH is a web-based resource that allows searching by compound or MeSH term and links to the literature in PubMed.


Please note: NO prior experience with Cytoscape is required.


Register here.



UMMS Education 
Town Hall

Tuesday, February 25

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Dow Auditorium, 

Towsley Center




Medical Education Day

Monday, April 7

12:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Dow Auditorium,

Towsley Center



Health System Headlines Research Seminars & Events 


Internal Submissions


BMRC Bridging Support Program for Biomedical Research


Monday, February 17


Medical School 


Bridging Grant Program


Monday, February 17


Additional Resources

Fact Sheets &
Hot Topics

Find UMHS facts & figures for your next proposal!

MBECT Tips & Tricks 


UMMS Office of Research


U-M Medical School


New Year, New Rules!

Stronger lab safety rules effective January 1, 2014

The policy on lab attire and eating/drinking were modified and strengthened in the new U-M Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP).  This modification was necessary for regulatory compliance and to meet the ever increasing safety demands by research sponsors.  A shift in safety culture at an institution the size and complexity of U-M is not an easy process, but protecting our employees and remaining the leaders in research depends on it.  


The official release of the new CHP was January 1, 2014.  It can be found on the Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH) website.  There will be a one year grace period for labs that have a current and complete CHP.  This will give labs time to work with departmental administrators and facility managers to determine appropriate space to eat and drink. 


Be Prepared. 

Learn what's included in surprise lab safety inspections

U-M Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH) has launched a pilot program of unannounced inspections called "Lab Visits." The program is designed to supplement the scheduled inspection program and improve awareness of safety issues.  


These "visits" will be completed across campus in FY14 and will consist of a brief inspection focused on key safety and health elements.  The visit form is a 10-question paper checklist, which includes the following topics:


1.    Laboratory hazard and emergency contact door 
       sign available

2.    Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) document 

       binder complete

3.    No signs of eating and/or drinking in the lab

4.    Chemical labels on all containers

5.    Proper lab attire including safety glasses

6.    Compressed gas cylinders restrained

7.    Hazardous waste containers closed and dated

8.    Fume hood sash closed when not in use

9.    Emergency shower and eyewash readily accessible

10.  Bulk flammable liquids stored in flammable liquid   

      storage cabinet


A carbon copy of the inspection report is left with the inspected laboratory.  The lab is expected to correct deficiencies and notify OSEH upon completion.


Have a Technical Innovation Idea That Could Improve Patient Care?

U-M Coulter Program Announces 2014 

Call for Proposals


The U-M Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program is pleased to announce the 2014 Call for Proposals.


The U-M Coulter Program is funded through proceeds of an endowment from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and supports collaborative translational research projects that involve co-investigators from the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) and a clinical department.


The goal of this program is to support research collaborations between biomedical engineers and clinicians in order to accelerate the development and commercialization of new medical devices, diagnostics, and other biomedical products that address unmet clinical needs and lead to improvements in health care.  Projects are supported and mentored by a team of industry-experienced experts who proactively work to accelerate Coulter Program objectives of developing new product concepts to the point of partnering with industry or forming start-up companies with 

follow-on funding to commercialize new products envisioned from research efforts.


Distinctive aspects of the Coulter Program include business assessment work that dovetails with technical milestones for each project.  Specific benefits to each project include: 

  • Business Development support
  • Intellectual Property advice and legal support
  • Regulatory guidance
  • Follow-on funding guidance
  • Mentorship from Oversight Committee 

Contact Thomas Marten, Coulter Program Director, at or (734) 647-1680 to explore the commercial potential for your project and fit for Coulter funding opportunities.


For more information, visit the Coulter Program website or download the Coulter proposal application here.  


Proposals must be submitted by 5:00 PM on Monday, 

March 3, 2014.


Do You Have an Outstanding Mentor?

Nominate Your Mentor for the 2014 MICHR Distinguished Clinical and Translational Research Mentor Award

This award honors the efforts and accomplishments of faculty across the university who demonstrate consistent and high quality research and career mentoring in areas of clinical and translational health research.

Do you know a U-M faculty member who shares her or his knowledge and research experience with students and scholars, many from different disciplines, with no thought of reward or recognition?  Is your mentor an outstanding advisor, advocate, sponsor, colleague and collaborator?

We would like to celebrate the contributions of such individuals with this award.


Nominees must be faculty members (tenured or non-tenured) from any discipline in any school, department, or program at the University of Michigan who have mentored in an area of clinical and translational health research.  Nominees need not have any affiliation with the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR).

For more information and to place a nomination, visit the MICHR Mentor Award website.  

Nominations must be received by Wednesday, March 19, 2014.
Call for Faculty Innovation Champions
As part of the Strategic Research Initiative, last fall Dean Steven Kunkel announced plans for a new program under the Office of Research called Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI).  This program capitalizes on previous investments by the Medical School Dean's Office under the rubric of innovation, and coalesced several existing assets to create FFMI.  An important driver for the success of this program will be the establishment of Medical School Faculty Champions who will guide the strategies for each of FFMI's four vertical market focus areas: therapeutics, devices, diagnostics and health IT/digital medicine.   

These Faculty Champions will work closely with Executive Director Kevin Ward, M.D. and the FFMI team to create strategies for driving innovation and commercialization at the Medical School. Each vertical market's Medical School Faculty Champion will eventually be paired with a non-Medical School faculty member, thereby establishing a co-champion approach and ensuring connectivity and collaboration with our innovation colleagues across campus. 

Faculty members interested in becoming an FFMI Champion are invited to review the position description and apply here 
by 5:00 PM on Friday, February 14, 2014

Please send any questions you may have to Connie Chang, Managing Director of FFMI at
$2.9 Million Grant for Fast Forward Medical Innovation
Looking to support programs that will accelerate the flow of ideas to the marketplace and spur economic activity in southeast Michigan, the William Davidson Foundation recently awarded $2.9 million to the U-M Medical School to support Fast Forward Medical Innovation activities over the next three years.

The Medical School has recently redoubled its efforts to drive technology commercialization based on the ideas and expertise of its faculty scientists and physicians.  Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI) focuses on this challenge, and the Davidson Foundation funds will fuel specific efforts within the initiative.  The funds will enable programs to more deeply engage faculty and "mine" for promising projects, to broaden efforts to promote innovation and commercialization, and to create new commercialization education, training and mentoring opportunities for inventors and entrepreneurs. 

"The creativity and accomplishments of our faculty present enormous potential, and this grant will help move their discoveries forward to benefit patients of the future," says Medical School Dean James O. Woolliscroft, M.D.  "This grant will also further our goal of creating jobs and spurring the creation of new businesses in the state of Michigan." 

The grant will especially help with the continued effort to strengthen the state's biotech sector.  "We are committed to being a force multiplier for biomedical innovation in the state of Michigan and on the world stage," notes Kevin Ward, M.D., Executive Director of FFMI.  "This investment by the Davidson Foundation will help us more quickly bring new technologies and innovations to patients and families, and nurture a culture of commercialization and entrepreneurship for tomorrow."

Click here for more information about this grant.
New Specialty Consent Templates Now Available

Two NEW specialty consent templates have been added to the IRBMED website for utilization by study teams.  The first template may be used only for a One-Time Blood or Tissue Sample for minimal risk studies.  


Importantly, this template may not be used if: 

  • You plan to conduct genetic analysis on subjects' samples, and/or  
  • You plan to submit subjects' samples or data to a biorepository or data repository

The second is a template for Eligibility Screening.  This template may be used only for eligibility screening and only if screening procedures pose no more than minimal risk to subjects.  


You may not use this template if:

  • You plan to conduct genetic analysis of subjects' blood or tissue samples
  • You plan to submit subjects' material or data to a biorepository or data repository
For more information about these templates, click here.
IRBMED Website Update: Informed Consent

IRBMED has updated the Informed Consent Templates pages on their website in order to provide easier navigation between the Standard ICD Template and the newly added Specialty Templates. 


To access the main Consent Templates page, click here.  


To access the new Specialty Consent Templates directly, 
Writing Informed Consent Documents, Part II

In Part I of this presentation, IRBMED offered recommendations for creating effective informed consent documents.  In this 

follow-up presentation, they provide instructions on how to apply those principles by working through a problematic passage from a hypothetical consent document.  


To view the presentation, click here

Honest Broker Office Reaches Milestone

Honest Broker Office Completes Inaugural Year

The Honest Broker Office (HBO) is now one year old and has provided clinical data for over 260 requests in their first year of operation.  Twenty-five percent of these requests include automatic updates.  While deploying the initial plans for the office, they are engaged in continuous improvement activities.  The HBO satisfaction survey responses include high marks for data quality and customer service while urging a faster turnaround time for data delivery.


To enable time-sensitive data delivery, HBO is implementing a partial cost recovery model with a recharge rate of $50/hour for all projects submitted after January 6, 2014.  This will cover approximately 1/6th of the cost to the HBO per hour.  


The generated revenue will allow the office to hire additional team members to align resources with demand.  HBO has hired a third full time Data Analyst whose salary support will come directly from cost recovery.  In addition, they are working with other members of the Office of Research to assist with expanding self-service access to clinical data for research.



To assist the research team in preparing an optimal data request, HBO has instituted Office Hours every Tuesday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. See the HBO website for location and updates.

Protein Folding Diseases Initiative Launches
Dean Woolliscroft and Dean Kunkel join 100+ faculty and staff to kick off new UMHS Initiative
Misfolded proteins are thought to be one of the many driving factors behind neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's, ALS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. As our population ages, the prevalence of these diseases increases and the need for treatment becomes more pressing.  The Protein Folding Diseases Initiative, part of the UMHS Strategic Research Initiative, will address this growing field and recently hosted a kickoff event attended by Dean Woolliscroft, Dean Kunkel, and members of our research community.

Aaron Gitler, Ph.D. from Stanford University, was the special guest speaker at the Protein Folding Diseases Initiative Kickoff held on December 13 at Palmer Commons.  He spoke passionately of his own research in the field, to both inspire and advocate for the necessity for focused efforts such as our Initiative.

Using ALS as his primary example, Dr. Gitler illustrated the techniques he used to identify the aggregation of TDP-43 in the cytosol.  In normal cells, TDP-43 is localized to the nucleus; however, in affected cells abnormal variants of the RNA binding protein are found only in the cytosol.  "An initiative to support more study like this is exactly what we need," noted Gitler to the 100+ faculty and staff in attendance.

After Dr. Gitler's presentation, attendees learned more details about the Protein Folding Diseases (PFD) Initiative from Andrew Lieberman, M.D., Ph.D. who, along with Henry Paulson M.D., Ph.D., is one of the leaders of the program.  Moving forward, the PFD Initiative will be composed of four vertically integrated research hubs that focus on key disease areas.

The Chaperone Machinery Modulators in Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Neurodegeneration Hub focuses on protein quality control of the three disease types.  They have already done extensive research on the modulation of Hsp90/Hsp70 based chaperone machinery to control various protein clients.  Their goal is to define homeostasis and identifying therapeutic targets.

The Endoplasmic Reticulum Hub focuses on the mutations of proteins caused by alterations in the ER processing by pathogens or deficiencies in handling by the ER.  Divided into the Calcium and Redox subgroups, the Hub uses the specialties of both teams to explore the correlation between ER stress and various diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Prion Disease, Cancer and Diabetes.

The Protein Trafficking and Neurodegenerative Disease Hub focuses on four projects that explore both how the Golgi and Lysosomes handle proteins, and how the two organelles are controlled.  By asking questions such as "Do golgi defects contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease?" and "Can upregulation of the signaling lipids PI(3,5)P2 and PI(5)P protect against neurodegeneration caused by toxic aggregates?" the Hub is continually making breakthroughs in the field.

The last Hub, Beyond Amyloid: Developing Multi-Functional Compounds and Exploring Metabolic Connections in AD, "capitalizes on existing local strengths in protein folding and metabolic disease research as well as expertise in life span interventions and cognitive assessment in mice."  They have a long-term goal of exploring the links between metabolic disease states and Alzheimer's Disease and amyloid chemistry.

Utilizing these four research hubs, as well as other UMHS resources, such as the Proteomics and Peptide Synthesis Core and the Human Brain Tissue Bank, the Protein Folding Diseases Initiative is working to "fast-forward" our enterprise-wide effort to address key scientific problems of our time.

Questions about the Protein Folding Initiative? Contact Cathy Bearman at
MTRAC Selects 11 Projects to 
Fast Forward
null Up to 33% of sedation-related adverse events in non-operative settings like endoscopy or catheterization are the result of airway obstruction caused by a relaxed tongue or soft tissues.  And up until now, the only way to prevent these complications has been through direct observation or the use of invasive airway devices.  But a new over-the-face Airway Support Device developed by U-M faculty could easily and inexpensively address this problem. 

On January 10th, U-M MTRAC for Life Sciences reviewed a funding proposal for this new device, along with 16 other innovative technologies.  Principal investigators presented on proof-of-concept projects that had been reported to the Office of Technology Transfer.  Projects evaluated to have a high potential for translation into the commercial industry were selected for funding by an Oversight Committee comprising global biotech business experts and U-M leaders in translational science and tech transfer.  Funding can go towards project expenditures such as salary and fringe benefits for project personnel, materials and supplies, equipment and travel.

The 17 proposals covered technology ranging from a fluorescently labeled peptide to be used for early detection for colorectal cancer to 3D printed custom-fitted CPAP Mask for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  The MTRAC Oversight Committee selected 11 for funding, including the Airway Support Device presented by Kevin Ward, M.D. and Albert Shih, Ph.D.

Other proposals selected:
  • Clinical Genomic Sequence Analysis Software: Automated variant identification from complex genetic datasets by Elenitoba, Kojo S.J. & Lim, Megan S.
  • SRB-1 targeted with anolide nanoconjugates for improved targeted therapy of endocrine cancers by Cohan, Mark & Schwendeman, Anna
  • Thiopurine Monitoring with the ThioMon Algorithmic Test by Balis, Ulysses & Higgins, Peter
  • Targeting EGFR-dimerization and EGFR-Hsp90 interaction for drug resistant lung and colorectal cancers by Nyati, Mukesh & Lawrence, Ted
  • Fluorescent-labeled peptide for targeting early detection of colorectal cancer by Wang, Thomas D.
  • Novel real-time intracardiac mapping system to guide ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation by Berenfeld, Omer & Oral, Hakan
  • Taking the Guesswork out of Brain Surgery by Orringer, Dan
  • Evaluation of PhScN as a Potent Systemic Therapy Combined with Hereceptin and/or Radiation for Breast Cancer by Livant, Donna L.
  • In vivo Assessment of a Novel Intraocular Pressure Transducer by Mian, Shahzad & Chronis, Nikos
  • Dynamic Response Impedance Volume Evaluation (DRIVE) by Tiba, Mohamad; Ward, Kevin; Shih, Albert; Blum, James; Belmont, Barry
An integral part of the Medical School's Strategic Research Initiative and its Fast Forward Medical Innovation program, U-M MTRAC for Life Sciences has over $7.5 million dollars to be used over the course of three years to accelerate U-M's biomedical innovation pipeline. 

Questions? Contact Brad Martin, Commercialization Program Director at

Closing Ceremony Recognizes Pilot Research Program Participants

UMMS Celebrates Successful Completion of First Mentored Research Academy: R01 Bootcamp Program

Faculty from across the U-M Medical School (UMMS) were honored for their participation in the Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp pilot program on Wednesday, January 22.  UMMS Dean James O. Woolliscroft, who is responsible for funding the program, was also on hand to provide opening remarks and to congratulate participants on their many successes throughout the program.  As part of the closing ceremony, program participants were also invited to join a round table discussion about the "Secrets of Success, Secrets of Failure" in competing for R01 NIH Research Project Grants.


Developed by the Medical School Office of Research in consultation with faculty, the Department of Medical Education, Office of Faculty Affairs, the Associate Chairs for Research, and the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR), the Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp ("R01 Boot Camp") is a multi-tiered mentoring program to support and increase the success rate of Medical School faculty applying for their first NIH Research Project Grant (R01).


Launched in early 2013, the pilot R01 Boot Camp program consisted of 40 new investigators (mentees) from 26 departments and 11 coaches from eight departments.  Throughout the course of the eight-month program, mentees participated in both small and large interdisciplinary group meetings to develop their research plans and strategies in preparation for submitting their first R01 NIH Research Project Grant.  Mentees also were able to work with an internal subject matter expert (SME), as well as an expert external reviewer to solicit feedback on their proposal prior to submission to NIH.  


The majority of participating mentees will submit their R01 proposal by February 5, 2014. Though the program is still being evaluated, initial feedback collected by Dr. Larry Gruppen, Ph.D. from the Department of Medical Education indicates that several aspects of the program were especially well liked, including: 

  • Opportunities to work with and get access to senior people at U-M
  • Feedback from numerous people, including peers and subject matter experts
  • The program's emphasis on a global approach to grant writing 

Due to a multi-phase review process, as well as delayed funding start dates from NIH, final data tracking the total number of successfully-funded proposals created through participation in the R01 Boot Camp program will take a few years to be compiled. However, preliminary data suggests that several mentees have already received word that their R01 proposals will be funded or are in the fundable range.  Other mentees have also received significant grant awards from other sponsors that will in turn lead the way for a successful, future R01 proposal.


A new session of the program will be announced later this year. Visit the Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp page for more information about the program, including a complete list of this year's participants.


Tips on Contacting the Program Officer

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.)


Most experienced investigators acknowledge that early contact with a program officer (PO) can be the difference between a funded and non-funded submission.  For example, POs can: clarify the fit of the scientific concept with the sponsor's priorities; give advice regarding funding mechanism, budget, and project duration; comment on project design; answer questions about guidelines or procedures; and offer insight into the review process, e.g., verify what methodologies are preferred by reviewers.  A PO's initial reaction to the proposed research may be the best indicator of success.


Since the job of most program officers is to solicit the most relevant and high quality proposals, POs are usually eager to answer questions.  Yet young investigators are often reluctant to make contact. Here are a few tips for how to approach a PO:


1.     Do your homework - Make sure you are familiar with   

        the agency's website and grant guidelines, so that you   

        are not asking the PO what is publicly known.  This is   

        not an informal chat.  Remember - first impressions are 

        critical - be prepared!


2.     Email first - Inform the PO that you are considering      

        applying for the grant opportunity and either state your   

        specific issue/questions, or ask if he or she may be 

        able to assess the attached summary (1 - 2 pp.) for 

        programmatic relevance.  Ask if s/he would rather talk   

        on the phone and give your number.  If you have not 

        heard back in a week or so, it is appropriate to follow-up 

        with a phone call or short message.  POs' personalities 

        are as varied as the rest of us in terms of 

        responsiveness - be patient - don't be a "pest." 

        (Note: email allows you to keep a record of contacts 

        and responses.)


3.     The summary of your proposal (attached to email)    

        should represent your "elevator" talk - Briefly review  

        aims, methods, expected outcomes; no jargon or too 

        much detail or; state where this will lead.


4.     Good working relationships can be further      

        developed at professional meetings, where the   

        discussion may be more informal.  You also can visit         POs when you are in D.C. or their home city; arrange in         advance and come with questions.  Often POs can    

        give insight beyond what is found in the written or   

        posted materials.


5.     Remember: don't be shy! (and always be gracious ...). 

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.