Research News
February 2014

Friday, February 14

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM 

Taubman Learning Center, 

2802 Medical Sciences Building 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). 


Register here.



Illumina Sequencing Seminar

Friday, February 21

9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

NCRC Research Auditorium,

Building 10,

2800 Plymouth Road


Next Generation Sequencing is transforming our understanding of genomics, driving new research, and helping to improve human health. Discover how next-generation sequencing is driving advances in research through the Illumina NextSeq 500.


Registration is free, but space is limited.


Register here.



CONNECT: Innovation Mob - Health IT

Saturday, February 22

8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

School of Public Health,

Room 3755


Interested in Health IT? Have a great Health IT idea but need help getting started? Then you will want to attend the Health IT Mob, a one day hands-on accelerator.


Click here for more information and to register.



STED Super-Resolution Imaging Seminar 

and Workshop

Wednesday, February 26

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

BSRB Seminar Rooms 


Have you ever explored structures as small as 50 nanometers, or wanted to? Now you can by going beyond conventional confocal imaging with Stimulated Emission Depletion, known as STED.


The Microscopy & Image Analysis Laboratory (MIL) and Leica will be hosting a STED/Super-Resolution Seminar to introduce users to this new technology. The seminar and discussion will cover theory and proper sample preparation. 


Seminar presented by: Haridas Pudavar, Ph.D. Leica Microsystems, Inc.


RSVP to reserve your spot in the workshop! 


Seating is limited and reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.


For more information, contact Kristofer C. Fertig, Leica Senior Confocal, Multi-Photon & Super Resolution Sales & Applications Specialist at



The Quantified Self: 

How Big Data and Mobile Technology are Revolutionizing 

Health Care 

Wednesday, March 5

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Ann Arbor 

SPARK Central,

330 East Liberty Street


Ivo Stivoric, VP of R&D at Jawbone and Kevin Ward, Executive Director of the Medical School's Fast Forward Medical Innovation, take a closer look at how academic centers and mobile tech companies are at the convergence of data, algorithms, IT, and wellness.


Registration is free


Details here



UMMS Education 

Town Hall

Tuesday, February 25

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Dow Auditorium, 

Towsley Center



Tuesday, May 13 

2 Sessions: 

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM or

12:00 PM - 2:00PM

BSRB Seminar Rooms




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


2014 MCIRCC Grand Challenge: Sepsis


Friday, February 21


U-M Geriatrics Center Annual Pilot Grant Competition


Monday, March 3


UMHS - Peking University Health Science Center Joint Institute for Translational and Clinical Research


Sunday, March 30 


Subsidy funds are available on a rolling basis from the Nathan Shock Center for the Biology of Aging for subsidized use of U-M Research Resource Cores for problems in aging research.


Details here.



External Limited Submissions


National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Foundation Young Investigator Award


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

UMHS Welcomes New Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations 

Joe M. Piffaretti is the new Senior Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) for the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS). Prior to joining U-M, Joe spent nine years at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where he held several positions in Corporate and Foundation Relations, most recently serving as Executive Director for the function. 


In his new role, Joe will oversee the newly created UMHS CFR team. He will work strategically with all areas of our organization, and other departments across campus and beyond, to build and expand upon partnerships that will increase the philanthropic support for UMHS from corporations and foundations. One of the critical goals of CFR will be to build strong relationships with Faculty and Staff in UMHS. 


Archived MiChart Research Update Meeting Now Available Online

If you were unable to attend one of the recent MiChart Research Update meetings, you can now access the archived webinar online


Topics covered in the webinar include:

  • What is currently available in MiChart for research
  • How the MiChart and Michigan Budget Enrollment Calendar Tool (MBECT) integration is progressing
  • New capabilities coming with the 2014 inpatient implementation
  • Training approach

Please refer to these key contacts for additional questions:


Calendar Review and Analysis Office

Phone: 734-998-6880



MiChart Research Function

Online Information about Research Functionality 

Phone: 734-936-8000, option #1



Windows 7 Migration Issues

Please contact MSIS with questions

Phone: 734-763-7770



Register Now for Outreach, Partnerships, & Implementation Science Symposium

The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR)'s 2014 Outreach, Partnerships, & Implementation Science (OPIS) Symposium will take place on Wednesday, March 26 at the NCRC Dining Hall.


The symposium will address partnerships from various perspectives to advance patient-centered outcomes research. The event will include a poster session, keynote presenters, networking lunch, and sessions focused on patient-centered outcomes research, strategies for building partnerships with community-based organizations and practices for research and stakeholder engagement.


Keynote speakers are C. Daniel Mullins, Ph.D., professor in the Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Department at University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and Robin Newhouse, Ph.D., R.N., NEA-BC, FAAN, chair and associate professor, Organizational Systems and Adult Health at University of Maryland School of Nursing.  


Learn more, register, or submit a poster abstract.


MICHR Offers Research Basics for Study Coordinators

The Research Basics for Study Coordinators series is designed for any research team member who has less than two years of research experience or is new to U-M. Please note that all information discussed in the series is tailored to the University of Michigan's available resources.

This course is taught in a three-part series to enhance your learning experience. Maximum benefit will be gained by attending all four sessions, but it is not required. The three-part series begins Monday, March 3, with an additional session available online. Participants are not required to attend all three sessions, but it is strongly recommended.


Series Schedule:  

  • CITI - Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (online session)
  • Session 1 (Monday, March 3) - Best Practices & Essential Documents for Clinical Research
  • Session 2 (Monday, March 10) - Recruitment and Retention
  • Session 3 (Monday, March 17) - Conducting & Obtaining Valid Informed Consent 

Registration links and additional details are available here. Please note that participants must register separately for the online session.


AAALAC is Coming!

Accreditors to Visit U-M February 24 through February 28

The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC)  will be visiting the University of Michigan from Monday, February 24 through Friday, February 28. AAALAC's voluntary accreditation process allows research programs to demonstrate that they meet the minimum standards required by law, and are also going the extra step to achieve excellence in animal care and use. In addition to visiting animal housing and support areas, they will also visit areas where animals are used for surgery (both recovery and non-recovery) during this triennial visit.  


This particular site visit will be the first since the National Institutes of Health and AAALAC endorsed the 8th Edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals as a core reference document. In order to prepare for the visit, we recommend you carefully review your protocols and records (post-surgical monitoring, tumor monitoring), as well as your housing and procedure areas. As usual, by working together we will once again demonstrate that we are "the leaders and the best."  


If you have any questions, please contact the University Committee on Use and Care of Animals Office at 

Office of Technology Transfer News

Are you sending, sharing, or receiving materials to or from researchers outside the university or to a company?

You may need a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) through the Office of Technology Transfer.


MTAs describe the terms under which university researchers can share or receive materials, typically for research or evaluation purposes. Intellectual property rights, human subjects protections, existing grant provisions, and legal restrictions can be compromised if outgoing materials are transferred without an MTA.

Similarly, providers will often ask that a recipient sign an MTA before receiving materials.


Remember, all MTAs, whether for incoming or outgoing materials, need to be reviewed and signed by the Office of Technology Transfer, not just by the faculty member! 

When do I need an MTA?

For materials incoming to U-M, create an MTA Unfunded Agreement (UFA) request when the provider of the materials requires one (see below). 


For sending materials from U-M to others outside the university, please see our guide for specific details on the factors to consider for outgoing materials, including:

  • Whether they are human-derived or regulated substances
  • If they will be sent outside of the United States or to a for-profit entity, or 
  • If they incorporate third-party materials or U-M intellectual property 

For more information, including frequently asked questions and examples of different scenarios, please see the Office of Technology Transfer's main MTA website. 

MTAs are now a type of UFA in eResearch

All MTA requests are now processed via the eResearch 

system, along with the other types of Unfunded Agreements (UFAs).


Log in to the Proposal Management module (eRPM) of and "Create a New UFA" to start your request. 


Please check out the UFA Quick Reference guide or the question-specific Help Text within the system if you are unfamiliar with the system. (Help Text can be viewed by clicking on any underlined question in the UFA worksheet.) 


Any lab member can submit the MTA request, but a Principal Investigator (PI) must be associated with the record.

Material Transfers and $$

MTAs typically cover materials from other academic institutions or from companies for free or nominal cost reimbursement. MTAs are not for purchasing - purchases still go through Procurement.


* Please Note: AddgeneJackson Labs, and some other repositories DO use MTAs for plasmid and mouse orders in addition to purchasing requests. In circumstances such as this, UFA requests must also be submitted.


If you are creating a UFA request for an Addgene order, please select "No" when answering the "Are you paying for this material as a product or a service from a company?" question on the first page of the UFA record in the eResearch system.

Important Notes and Additional Resources

Please keep the following in mind when working with MTAs and/or UFAs in the eResearch system:

  • A PI or a Primary Research Administrator must route the UFA (step 6 in the quick reference guide) when submitting the request via eResearch to ensure that the Office of Technology Transfer receives the record to review.
  • For a more in-depth look at the new eResearch UFA system, view a 30-minute webinar or slides on how to submit and manage UFA requests. 

Please feel free to contact the Office of Technology Transfer to discuss any questions or provide feedback -- we want to hear from you!


Reach us via email at MichiganMTA@umich.eduor by phone at


MBECT Users: Put Your Data to Work for You!

Why do double entry or work on multiple

spreadsheets when the Michigan Budget Enrollment Calendar Tool (MBECT) already has all of your data? 


Learn about MBECT's new versatile reporting capabilities when our vendor, eThority, is on-site the week of February 24th. 


We expect to offer hands on training to show you how MBECT's Data Books can handle what users are doing in Excel without the need to export or enter data in additional systems. Reports can

automatically update as new data is available.


Sign up for a training session here.


We already have your data, now let MBECT do the work for you! 


The MCTO and CRAO Offices are Working Together to Better Serve You!

MCTO Offers Services to Create Billing Calendars

Effective January 6, 2014, the MICHR Clinical Trials Office (MCTO) will offer  services to create billing calendars.


We aim to be an additional resource for establishing a study-specific billing calendar, in addition to answering your basic MBECT questions.


Our goal is to reduce the number of questions and decrease the time to response to the Clinical Research Calendar Review and Analysis Office (CRAO)'s review. This will give you more time for other study activities. 


For more information, please contact Jill Malayang via email at or by telephone at 734-998-7460.

Pioneering Solutions:
The First Annual MCIRCC Grand Challenge
Targets Sepsis

The Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care (MCIRCC) hosted its first annual Grand Challenge event over the course of two, half-day sessions on Friday, January 24 and Saturday, January 25. Nearly 50 MCIRCC members attended this inaugural event, braving blizzard conditions to attend the program all in the fight against sepsis.


"As a young organization gaining its foothold, this level of member representation at our first Grand Challenge event is exciting and encouraging as we strive to push research beyond the idea stage for real-world impact," stated MCIRCC's Managing Director Janene Centurione.


The Grand Challenge targets the most pressing problems in critical care by leveraging integrated science teams to engage, develop, and deliver technological solutions to key critical care health problems. For its inaugural event, MCIRCC zeroed in on sepsis because of its complexity, impact, and far-reaching implications across the critical care spectrum.


With more than a million cases each year in the U.S. and 250,000 deaths annually, sepsis poses a serious public health problem. 

U-M Pediatric Intensivist and MCIRCC member, Timothy Cornell, M.D., describes it as, " of the most common situations that bring both previously healthy patients, and patients with prior diseases (i.e. cancer) into our intensive care unit. Sepsis is either the primary issue causing critical illness, or can be the result of treatment for other conditions that result in immunosuppression."


Day 1 of the Grand Challenge program examined the complex science, incidence, economic and non-economic costs, diagnosis and treatment challenges attributed to sepsis; potential models for new therapeutics, diagnostics, devices or digital health solutions to support the septic patient and healthcare provider were also presented. Day 2 introduced MCIRCC members to internal U-M resources and entrepreneurial fundamentals to support the development of solutions suitable for future commercialization.


The two-day program ended on a high note with the release of the MCIRCC Grand Challenge Funding Opportunity that will support high-impact proposals up to $100,000 per project for milestone driven research to take place over the next 18 months. Taking a unique "team science" approach, each proposal must have a joint PI from the University of Michigan's Medical School and the College of Engineering.


Even if a research team doesn't receive funding this time around, the learning from the Grand Challenge could give their solution the jumpstart that it needs. MCIRCC Director Kevin Ward, M.D., noted, "The gift that might keep giving from the Grand Challenge is not just the technologies that come out of it and are funded, but the collaborations that result, the fact that we are able to educate people working in this area to think differently about potential projects and funding opportunities."


For more information about MCIRCC, becoming a MCIRCC member, or the Grand Challenge, please visit the MCIRCC website. 


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.

U-M School of Public Health Researcher wins Top National Award
Richard Hirth, Ph.D., Receives AcademyHealth's 2014 Health Services Research Impact Award

University of Michigan School of Public Health Professor Richard Hirth, Ph.D., recently received AcademyHealth's 2014 Health Services Research Impact Award for work that contributed to the development of a prospective payment system that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services employed to improve patient choice and quality of care, and potentially reduce costs in the treatment of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).


For more than 40 years, Medicare has been a near single-payer for ESRD patients. For many, dialysis is the primary, life-saving treatment, yet these patients experience both high mortality rates (up to 20 percent in the first year of dialysis) and very high costs. In fact, ESRD patients represent about 1 percent of the total Medicare population but account for more than 6 percent of Medicare spending. For these reasons, understanding and addressing the incentives built into the Medicare payment system could significantly impact both the cost and quality of care received by this highly vulnerable population.


Hirth and colleagues conducted research that provided Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with the evidence needed to develop a more efficient bundled prospective payment system. The new system saves taxpayers money by creating incentives to reduce inappropriately high doses of medications and the use of higher cost medications when lower cost options exist. Early evidence indicates the new system is also preserving, and in some cases enhancing, patient access to care.


"Professor Hirth is a leading authority on the economics of kidney disease in the financing of dialysis care through the Medicare program. This award recognizes his major contributions to national health policy and practice," said Kyle Grazier, professor and chair of the U-M Department of Health Management and Policy.


Hirth is professor and associate chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy; research director of the Center for Value-based Insurance Design; and associate director of the Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center, all located at the U-M School of Public Health. He also is a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the U-M Health System, and member of the U-M Institute for Health Care Policy and Innovation.


"The HSR Impact Award is presented annually to health services research studies that make a clear impact on health policy and practice," said AcademyHealth President and CEO Lisa Simpson. "In this case, Dr. Hirth and his colleagues provided the evidence policymakers needed to make decisions that made care for critically ill patients more efficient. In doing so, the work exemplifies the important contributions health services research makes to health and health care."


AcademyHealth is a national organization that brings health services and policy stakeholders together to address the current and future needs of an evolving health system, inform health policy, and translate evidence into action.


A full description of Dr. Hirth's winning research can be found here.

Cancer Biology Program Welcomes its First Graduate

The Cancer Biology Program, which began in 2010, welcomed its first graduate at the end of 2013. Heather Walline, Ph.D., defended her graduate thesis on the role of HPV in Head and Neck Cancer while becoming the first person to graduate from the University of Michigan with a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology.


One of 14 foci in the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS), Cancer Biology is the only program that focuses solely on disease. The program specializes in exposing students to more feasibly translational research, allowing them to have a greater impact on cancer treatments and developing personalized medicine. The Cancer Biology curriculum spans many disciplines including microbiology, immunology, genetics, bioinformatics, and biochemistry. In combination with both educational and training activities, the interdisciplinary nature of the program allows students to be exposed to the full breadth of cancer biology.


Research topics that students can focus on include: tumor immunology, viral oncogenesis, cell biology, genetics, epidemiology, pathology, and bioinformatics. Projects in these areas then range from studying basic biological processes to translational research that aims to move basic findings into the clinic. Faculty mentor Thomas Carey, Ph.D., states: "Students who interviewed for the program expressed interest in translational research. The program is the perfect way of bringing a student into the study of a serious clinical problem that can be addressed in laboratory." In addition to having access to collaborative and interdisciplinary faculty, students also benefit from resources provided by the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center


Students in the program have the ability to work with clinical specialists and, occasionally, specimen resources to assist in their research and discoveries. Student Jillian Boden boasts of her experience in the program saying, "I think the size of the program and the willingness of the faculty to accept student feedback makes our program unique. We know all of the students in our program as well as most of the faculty. This provides a great environment for young scientists to develop their careers."


While still relatively new at U-M, the Cancer Biology program continues to grow at a rapid pace, already beginning the interview process for potential Cancer Biology graduate students for the 2014-2015 academic year. The program has also begun interviews for their undergraduate Cancer Research Summer Internship Program (CaRSIP) which will run for 10 weeks in the summer of 2014, and will expose students to cutting-edge cancer research. "We have great enthusiasm and excitement for where the people that are trained in this program will go and what they will contribute to the future of cancer biology," said Dr. Carey.


For more information about the program, please visit the Cancer Biology website.
UMMS Researchers to Conduct Novel Study in Partnership with National PERL Consortium 
Gout Medication Investigated for Kidney Problems in Type 1 Diabetes
Rodica Pop-Busui,
M.D., Ph.D.

Kidney disease poses one of the greatest burdens for people with type 1 diabetes. As many as 10 to 15 percent of diabetes patients develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD), requiring hemodialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Diabetes is the leading cause of ESRD, and the number of people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and kidney failure rose by 61 percent between 2000 and 2010.


Currently, tight control of blood sugar and blood pressure are the only tools to prevent kidney disease. However, as many as 50 percent of people with diabetes cannot achieve optimal blood sugar control - and blood pressure control is only partially effective against ESRD.


Eight institutions comprising the Preventing Early Renal Function Loss in Diabetes (PERL) Consortium, including the University of Michigan Medical School, were recently awarded $24.3 million by the National Institutes of Health for a novel clinical trial to study a potential kidney disease treatment for people with type 1 diabetes. This is a five-year randomized clinical trial that will evaluate whether allopurinol, an inexpensive and safe FDA-approved drug for treating elevated uric acid (gout), is effective in reducing or slowing down kidney function loss among people with type 1 diabetes.


"We have data indicating that moderately high serum uric acid levels predispose people to diabetic kidney disease," explained 

Rodica Pop-Busui, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Investigator for the University of Michigan site. "However, we don't know whether this is due to uric acid itself or to something else that goes together with it. That's why this study is important - to determine if uric acid is the culprit or not."


Dr. Pop-Busui, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes and Co-Director of the Michigan Peripheral Neuropathy Center, is joined on the study by her co-Investigator, Frank Brosius, III, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Chief, Division of Nephrology, and Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Pop-Busui is also on the PERL Consortium's Steering Committee for the trial.


In addition, the Data Coordinating Center will be housed at U-M and led by Andrzej Galecki, M.D., Ph.D., Division of Geriatrics, and Cathie Spino, Sc.D., from the Statistical Analysis of Biomedical and Educational Research (SABER) unit.

Frank Brosius, III, M.D.


If the Consortium can demonstrate that allopurinol is capable of halting or slowing down loss of kidney function in people with type 1 diabetes by lowering people's levels of serum uric acid, it would be a major breakthrough for persons with diabetes. This relatively inexpensive drug could become a standard diabetes treatment, and an important tool preventing ESRD.


Candidates are being sought between the ages of 18-65 who have had type 1 diabetes longer than eight years and have abnormal kidney function or abnormal uric acid levels, verified by a specific lab test.


For more information, including patient sign up, visit the study website or contact Cynthia Plunkett, Nurse Study Coordinator, at or 734-936-8065.


U-M Researcher, MOOC Creator Becomes First to Apply Creative Commons Licenses to Educational Materials

Dr. Caren Stalburg Reflects on Lessons Learned and Open Educational Resources

Dr. Caren Stalburg, M.D., M.A. - researcher, clinician, and teacher - can now add "Massive open online course (MOOC) creator" to her curriculum vitae. Dr. Stalburg, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Education recently created a course, "Instructional Methods in Health Professions Education" which became part of the University of Michigan MOOC collection on Coursera, an online platform offering free online courses to students around the world. In deciding initially to create a MOOC, Dr. Stalburg was motivated by the potential "novelty, scope, and accessibility of the pedagogical concept." In addition, Dr. Stalburg was excited about the opportunity to reach thousands of health professions educators around the globe and help them learn how to educate healthcare providers in their own communities.


Dr. Stalburg's is the first U-M MOOC to apply Creative Commons licenses to all of its downloadable educational materials. This means that the materials are both freely accessible via Coursera and Open.Michigan, and that the materials are licensed for remixing and reuse by students and educators for their own teaching and learning purposes. As Dr. Stalburg explained, "The open educational platform was also very appealing to me from the perspective of access and reach. There is a need for teaching and training healthcare providers in a variety of locales around the globe, and the open educational resource opportunity just seemed like a fantastic way to facilitate access to information and ideas in areas of limited resources."


In the process of creating her MOOC, Dr. Stalburg received support from several collaborators, including staff at Open.Michigan. Open.Michigan is an initiative led by the Office of Enabling Technologies (a sub-unit of the U-M Medical School Information Services), which enables faculty, students, and others to share their educational resources and research with the global learning community. Working with Open.Michigan, Dr. Stalburg received advice on copyright laws as well as assistance in selecting a license so that her learning materials would be shared and attributed correctly as open educational resources.


Dr. Stalburg's course originally ran in August 2013, but started back up on February 3 (anyone interested in taking it can enroll at any time). 


For more information on Dr. Stalburg's experience as a MOOC creator, read her complete interview on the Open.Michigan blog. 


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.


Feature Impact in Your Grant Proposal

Sharpening the Focus: Strategies for Emphasizing Impact in Your Next NIH Proposal

The impact score of your National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Grants (R series) proposal is the key factor to determining whether it is funded. 

Impact is characterized by "the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved." Impact is a function of: 

1) the importance of the topic, and 
2) the likelihood that you can complete the experiments      and get the work done.

Emphases should be woven throughout the proposal. The following excerpts are from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)'s "R01 Sample Applications and Summary Statements," which are annotated with reviewers' assessments. 


  • State relevance of study to health: e.g., "Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an exceedingly common disorder of the vaginal microflora affecting >30% of all women...."
  • State how results may translate: e.g., "Thus, in addition to the discovery of potential drugs and drug targets related to metabolism and infection, which could impact the global burden of disease, our aims will yield open-source software for... scoring for a wide range of C. elegans image-based assays that are currently intractable."


Specific Aims

  • Show importance of problem: e.g., "Apicomplexa are responsible for a number of important human diseases including malaria, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis and cyclosporidiosis." (The first sentence(s) of "Aims" section clearly lays out the significance.)
  • "Payoff" paragraph: e.g., "In addition to discovering novel anti-infectives and genes involved in will provide the C. elegans community with (a) a versatile, modular, open-source toolbox of algorithms..., (b) new framework for extracting morphological features...(c) capability to discover disease-related pathways, chemical probes, drug targets...relevant to a variety of diseases."



  • Show potential to advance science: e.g.,"Visual examination for a genome-wide RNAi screen takes 0.5 to 4 people-years; a large chemical screen1 requires ≥10 people-years. Using algorithms we will develop, screens can be analyzed in weeks or months."
  • Include preliminary data to underscore feasibility: e.g., "In previous work we have shown that small changes control significant variation in the viral properties including receptor binding, host range, and antigenicity."



  • Highlight novel aspects of significance to health: e.g., "This is a new concept that will lead us to discover new biology and might have strong potential for drug development."
  • Create vision of success: e.g., "We feel this investment has paid off (at times in unexpected ways) and taking the risk to develop new approaches in the future will keep our experiments fresh and will allow us to ask deeper and deeper mechanistic questions."



  • Feasibility: e.g., "Our algorithms for accurate delineation of individual ...have proven valuable in a number of our own image-based biological experiments (refs)."
  • Preliminary data and how built upon: e.g., "We recently published the first whole-animal C. elegans microscopy screen analyzed by automated image analysis."
  • Anticipated results: e.g., "Disregulation of metabolism results in many common and expensive chronic health conditions; diabetes alone affects 24 million Americans ... screening with a strain of C. elegans with an RNAi-sensitive nervous system will likely reveal novel energy regulators of therapeutic and research value."
  • Even with pitfalls, highlight significance: e.g.,
    • "Even if we are unable to generate a VLY-deficient mutant...we will still have constructed a useful library for the future study of non-essential genes in G. vaginalis."
    • "Either finding would represent a new understanding of toxin-induced epithelial response with implications beyond VLY and G. vaginalis."
For additional reference on this topic, see "How Reviewers Score Applications" on the NIAID website.
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.