Research News
April 2015

2015 Conference on Adolescent Health

Thursday, April 23 - Friday, April 24

Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest



Seminar Series:
Privacy & Confidentiality

Tuesday, April 28

12:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Danto Auditorium, CVC



Write Winning Grant Proposals from the Reviewer's Perspective

Monday, May 4

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

BSRB Seminar Rooms



NCBI Discovery Workshops

Tuesday, May 5 - Wednesday, May 6

9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Taubman Library
Learning Center,

2802 Med Sci II Bldg



Friday, May 29 -

Friday, June 26

Four-week course

Rooms G063 & G064,

NCRC Building 10



Wednesday, June 10

Two sessions:

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM or

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

BSRB Seminar Rooms



4th Annual

BRCF Technology

& Services Showcase

Thursday, June 11

11:30 AM - 2:00 PM

Great Lakes Room

& Forum Hall,

Fourth Floor,

Palmer Commons



Metabolomics MRC2 Summer Workshop

Monday, June 15 - Thursday, June 18

Kellogg Auditorium, Kellogg Eye Center


For more information, please contact Terri Ridenour via email or phone at (734) 647-7449.



Health System Headlines Research Seminars & Events 


Fact Sheets
& Hot Topics

Find UMHS facts and figures for your next proposal!

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MBECT Resources 


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of Research


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  • Funding
  • Policies
  • Training & Professional Development
  • Announcements
  •  Accolades & Milestones
  • FundingOpps
    Select Research Funding &
    Award Opportunities
    External Limited Submissions
    ADA Pathway to Stop Diabetes 2015Wednesday, April 15

    Other Opportunities
    2015 Discovery Fast Track Challenge
    Friday, April 24
    Fostering Innovation Grants (FIGs)Wednesday, April 29
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Faculty Scholars Program

    Tuesday, July 28
    Nathan Shock Center
    for the Biology of Aging
    Subsidy funds are available on a rolling basis for subsidized use of U-M Research Resource Cores for problems in aging research.

    For additional information, we encourage you to visit the UMMS Office of Research Funding Opportunities page
    UMMS Office of Research Launches New Epigenomics Core

    The Medical School Office of Research is pleased to announce its newest core facility, the Epigenomics Core, managed by the Biomedical Research Core Facilities.


    The Epigenomics Core provides resources and services to prepare samples for analysis in epigenetic regulation in both genome-wide and locus-specific manners. The Core is located in MSRB II 2568 (next to the DNA Sequencing Sample drop-off center and the Proteomics & Peptide Synthesis Core).


    Epigenetics was identified as one of the priority initiatives by external reviewers and in the Personalized Medicine Fast Forward Proposal.


    "We're thrilled to be able to offer these important resources to researchers," said Maria Figueroa, M.D., Epigenomics Core Director and Assistant Professor of Pathology. "Epigenetics is a crucial emerging field, and we're looking forward to becoming one of the recognized leaders in the discipline."


    What is Epigenetics?

    Epigenetic regulation refers to DNA sequence independent regulation of heritable traits that impacts gene expression. In recent years the term has broadened to also encompass processes that control gene expression and genomic functions beyond DNA sequence but which may be more transient or facultative in nature. Epigenetic information is contained and mediated by the genomic distribution of cytosine modifications such as methylation (5mC) and hydroxymethylation (5hmC), and post-translational modifications of histones and other proteins.


    For more information, visit the Core website.

    Major National Grant Competition Announced for Early Career Scientists
    Learn more at upcoming information sessions
    The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Simons Foundation are holding a joint national competition for grants to outstanding early career scientists as Faculty Scholars.

    This competition will strengthen the community of basic researchers and physician scientists who bring innovative approaches to the study of biological problems. Women and minorities under-represented in the biomedical and biological sciences are strongly encouraged to apply.

    Award Information:
    Submission Deadline:
    Tuesday, July 28 at 3:00 PM EST
    Award Amount:
    $500,000 to $2 million over five years
    Research Areas:
    Basic Science
    Junior Faculty
    More Information:
    Faculty Scholars Program

    U-M Foundation Relations will be holding two information sessions in May. Researchers interested in submitting an application for this competition are strongly encouraged to attend one of the information sessions:

    Thursday, May 7
    10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
    Boardroom 5,
    Palmer Commons

    Monday, May 18
    1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
    Boardroom 5,
    Palmer Commons

    Please visit the Foundation Relations website for more information.

    Questions about this award opportunity should be directed to:
    • Joe PiffarettiUMHS Corporate and Foundation Relations
      [email protected]
      Phone: (404) 421-2012
    Clinical Trials Transformation Update
    New initiative to "fast forward clinical trials"
    is underway
    Last November at the Research Town Hall, Senior Associate Dean for Research Steve Kunkel announced that one of the important next steps for the U-M Medical School's Strategic Research Initiative is transforming the clinical trials enterprise. The Research Board of Directors (RBOD) and its Clinical Trials Task Force identified the enterprise-wide goal of creating "the new knowledge needed to improve clinical care, value, and health outcomes by successfully executing a diverse portfolio of high-quality clinical trials."

    Dean Woolliscroft and the RBOD underscored their commitment to this initiative, dubbed "Fast Forward Clinical Trials," with significant financial and leadership support. An RBOD subcommittee comprising a subset of department chairs and faculty leaders on the front lines of clinical research trials, with Ted Lawrence as the chair and George Mashour as vice chair, has been charged with overseeing the implementation of the strategic plan in partnership with the Medical School Office of Research.

    Fast Forward Clinical Trials is on track, with proposals for pilot clinical trial "nodes" having been submitted and being reviewed by the subcommittee. Varying in size and structure, these pilot nodes will be functional, local units that will provide high-quality, efficient pre- and post-award support for investigators and their study teams. Each will be based upon the scientific needs of the unique mix of research the node supports.

    In addition to the work on the pilot nodes, MICHR and the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects are finalizing the University of Michigan's participation in the nation-wide Accelerated Clinical Trials Agreement, which will provide a streamlined contract template for sponsor-initiated multi-site trials.

    The development of Fast Forward Clinical Trials will be a dynamic process in the coming months, and the subcommittee and supporting staff will continue to engage faculty and staff for feedback. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Cyndi Bower at [email protected].
    Changes to Reporting Guidelines for Internal Adverse Events Now in Effect
    New changes took effect Friday, April 3

    IRBMED has revised its Standard Adverse Event (AE) Reporting Guidelines for reporting AEs occurring at the U-M (Internal AEs), effective Friday, April 3, 2015.


    The new IRBMED AE Reporting Guidance will reduce study team burden by limiting which types of internal adverse events must be submitted to the IRBMED.


    Below are examples of what no longer requires reporting:


    • Unrelated and Unexpected AEs
    • Unrelated and Expected AEs, unless the events appear to be occurring at a greater severity or frequency than known or expected
    • Non-serious AEs of mild or moderate severity, unless the events appear to be occurring
      at a greater frequency than known or expected 

    Obligations for reporting internal AEs to sponsors and regulatory agencies DID NOT change; this updated guidance ONLY modifies reporting obligations for internal AEs to IRBMED. 


    Reporting procedures for external AEs (AEs occurring at sites other than the U-M) DID NOT change. The new guidance is not applicable to Study-Specific AE reporting plans.


    Click here to review the revised guidance.


    Please contact IRBMED at (734) 763-4768 if you have any questions.

    BRCF Streamlines Billing and Administrative Processes through MiCores

    The Biomedical Research Core Facilities (BRCF) have launched MiCores, an online core management system from iLab Solutions, designed to streamline ordering and billing for core service requests.


    Currently, the following BRCF Cores are in the system:

    • Bioinformatics Core
    • Biosafety Containment Core
    • Flow Cytometry Core
    • Metabolomics Core
    • Microscopy & Image Analysis Laboratory
    • Proteomics & Peptide Synthesis Core
    • Sample Preservation Freezer Farm Facility
    • Transgenic Animal Model Core
    • Vector Core

    The Biomedical Research Store, DNA Sequencing Core, and new Epigenomics Core are on target to implement MiCores by the end of 2015. The BRCF is excited to offer this as a resource to our customers, and all core users are invited to use the system. 


    How to Access MiCores

    Users may set up an account at
    and will simply need their uniqname and Level-1 (Kerberos) password to login. 
    Once you complete the one-time registration process and are approved by your PI or Lab Manager, the system will enable you to place service requests, provide required approvals, and monitor progress.


    Need Assistance with MiCores? 

    MiCores is being supported by the MSIS Service Desk. If you have any questions, please contact MSIS by email or phone at (734) 763-7770, or by visiting the MiCores Knowledge Base (wiki)
    GlaxoSmithKline Announces 2015 Discovery Fast Track Challenge
    Submissions due Friday, April 24
    GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
    is currently seeking submissions for their 2015 Discovery Fast Track Challenge


    This challenge offers a great opportunity for our investigators to submit a drug discovery concept for collaboration, as well as a chance to work with GSK scientists to help turn novel drug development concepts into new medicines.


    Visit the Challenge website to learn more about this opportunity, including application instructions and proposal selection criteria.


    Please contact Stephanie Morley on the Fast Forward Medical Innovation Business Development team via email if you have additional questions.

    MCubed Survey and $50 from Amazon
    The Medical School Office of Research is surveying faculty and staff about MCubed, the campus-wide program that distributes seed funding to multi-unit teams engaged in innovative research.

    CLICK HERE to take the brief, 10-minute survey and you could win a $50 Amazon gift card!

    MCubed 2.0 will open later this spring. Watch for more updates on the MCubed website at
    Get Bucks for Your Innovative Idea
    Apply now for a Fostering Innovation Grant

    If you have an innovative idea about how to improve a process or procedure in your department or the U-M Health System, you could qualify for a Fostering Innovation Grant (FIG).


    FIGs provide UMHS faculty and staff with an opportunity to see their innovative ideas funded by awarding seed money for the implementation of one- or two-year pilot projects. Since FIGs began in 2005, the program has awarded over $1.7M to support more than 210 projects across UMHS.


    FIGs has two rounds per year, Fall and Spring, and each round has a budget of $125,000 to be distributed among the most innovative applications.


    Applications for Round 20 of FIGs are now being accepted, and must be submitted by midnight on Wednesday, April 29.  


    Please contact Kara Dunigan via email with any questions.

    Department of Microbiology & Immunology Receives Major National Recognition
    Department named an ASM Milestones in Microbiology Designated Site

    The Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the U-M Medical School was recently selected as an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Milestones in Microbiology Designated Site. This designation, awarded to only a handful of sites across the country, recognizes institutions and the scientists who worked there for the significant contributions they have made toward advancing the science of microbiology.


    Microbiology at the U-M Medical School (UMMS) has a rich history, tracing its roots back to the appointment of Dr. Frederick G. Novy as assistant professor of Hygiene and Physiological Chemistry in 1891. Novy offered a three-month intensive course, Practical Bacteriology, which is credited as being the first lecture-lab course in the United States. The following year, Novy's class was made a required part of the medical school curriculum, making UMMS one of the first medical schools to require formal training in microbiology.


    Two other distinguished U-M investigators -- Thomas Francis Jr. and Frederick C. Neidhardt -- extended Novy's legacy of leadership with their contributions to both U-M and the larger microbiology field. Dr. Francis, an influenza virologist, founded the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at Michigan, where he mentored Jonas Salk on vaccine development.


    Dr. Neidhardt studied bacterial physiology and was among the earliest investigators to apply powerful systems-based approaches to understand physiological responses of the cell to specific environmental stresses. The department was also home to the first African-American faculty member at the U-M, Albert Wheeler, a syphilis researcher who was appointed as Assistant Professor in 1952.


    This rich history has set the pattern for what is now the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, chaired by Harry L.T. Mobley, Ph.D., and home to over 30 faculty whose research into microbial physiology and genetics, and pathogenicity and immunity, is recognized as one of the leaders and best in the country. 


    A ceremony to commemorate the designation is being scheduled for Fall 2015. More details to follow.

    Nominees Sought for Award Honoring a Global Health Champion
    Nominations due Friday, May 15

    The U-M Office of the President is seeking nominations for the third recipient of the Thomas Francis Jr. Medal in Global Public HealthThe medal, established 10 years ago, "honors individuals who have made significant advancements toward global public health -- with a particular emphasis on those whose work has made a real-life impact on populations around the world," President Mark S. Schlissel said.


    The medal is awarded every three to five years and the recipient will be asked to deliver a keynote address at a symposium on a major topic in world health. 


    "Improving world health is one of the greatest challenges and opportunities that we face as a society, and it is my distinct pleasure to continue the University of Michigan's tradition of awarding the Thomas Francis Jr. Medal in Global Public Health," Schlissel said.


    The committee seeks a public health leader who has contributed to the field through:

    • Major scientific discovery or invention.

    • Leadership in development, implementation, or promotion of effective public health policy, nationally or internationally.

    • Seminal support for the development or implementation of effective action that advances global public health.

    • Distinguished service in the promotion of global public health.

    Click here to learn more about the award and nomination process.


    Nominations to be considered should be submitted no later than Friday, May 15.


    Questions can be directed to [email protected]

    NIH Names Panel to Lead President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative
    Medical School faculty member among panelists
    Sachin Kheterpal, M.D.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced a panel of experts that will steer President Obama's Precision Medicine InitiativeThe $215 million initiative seeks to leverage genomics, informatics, and health information technology to accelerate biomedical discoveries and enable personalized medicine approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.


    Sachin Kheterpal, M.D., Associate Chair for Clinical Affairs and Quality in the U-M Department of Anesthesiology, will join the panel comprised of 18 other medical experts from across the country. 


    The panel will seek input from stakeholders in the Precision Medicine Initiative and define the scope and scale of the initiative, the issues that need to be addressed, and what success would look like five and 10 years out, the NIH said.


    Read more about the Precision Medicine Initiative.

    Two UMMS Researchers Recognized with Prestigious Early Career Awards
    Food allergy researcher Jessica O'Konek, Ph.D., receives 2015 FARE New Investigator Award
    Jessica O'Konek, Ph.D.

    Jessica O'Konek, Ph.D., a research investigator at the U-M Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences, is the recipient of an inaugural Food Allergy Research & Education Investigator (FARE) in Food Allergy Award.


    Dr. O'Konek is studying the modulation of food allergy responses with nanoemulsion-based allergy vaccines, exploring the possibility of providing protection against anaphylaxis, or acute allergic reactions, with intranasal administration of nanoemulsion combined with food allergens.


    FARE is the world's largest private source of funding for food allergy research. Their funding supports investigators involved in education and basic and/or clinical research on the mechanisms and treatment of food allergic diseases. Dr. O'Konek was one of two recipients of the 2015 New Investigator Award. 

    Diabetes researcher Scott Soleimanpour, M.D.,
    earns 2015 Early Career Development Award
    Scott Soleimanpour, M.D.

    Scott Soleimanpour, M.D., whose research has been highlighted by the National Institutes of Health as a potential game-changer for diabetes treatment, earned the 2015 Early Career Development Award from the Central Society for Clinical and Translational Research.


    The Society scores the significance of research findings and honors those believed to have overall promise as an investigator. Soleimanpour is an assistant professor of endocrinology at UMHS and an investigator at the U-M Brehm Center for Diabetes Research


    His research led to the discovery of the diabetes susceptibility gene Clec 16a. The type 1 diabetes gene appears to play a role in quality control of insulin-producing beta cells. Soleimanpour's finding sheds light on the genetic risk component of type 1 diabetes and a new approach for keeping beta cells strong.


    Learn more about Dr. Soleimanpour's research in his Medicine at Michigan faculty profile.

    Summing Up Science Outside the Lab: Writing for a Non-Specialist Audience
    Sharpening Your Focus:
    Tips on Grant Proposal Preparation
    By Jill Jividen, Ph.D., Senior Manager for Research Development Support,
    U-M Medical School Office of Research


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

    Scientists are increasingly encouraged to communicate results to a broader public. But mastering the skill of writing for nonscientists -- translating complicated concepts into simpler terms -- offers more benefit than boosting retweets. That writing dexterity strengthens grant proposals: consider the National Institutes of Health (NIH)'s instructions to use "plain language," understandable by general readers, for Project Summaries and Abstracts. A more accessible style may be needed for other sponsors too, including foundations, industry, and donors.

    Plain language doesn't mean "dumbing down" ideas, nor does it mean unprofessional or grammatically incorrect (i.e., it doesn't look like texts and tweets). Writing "plainly" means using clear, concise language that takes less time to understand.

    Before starting:
    • Know your audience. General public or potential donor?
      If it's a foundation, will science advisors or laypeople review the proposal? Learn about your readers; anticipate their questions.
    • Know your subject. If you're unclear about something,
      you won't be able to make readers understand it.
    • Know your purpose. Are you informing or persuading?
    When writing:
    • Use everyday language. If you have a choice, use the common term (e.g., "heart attack" replaces "myocardial infarction").
    • Think "big picture." Put the most important points
      (e.g., impact) up front. Answer the "so what?" early, and include only details readers need to understand your message.
    • Simplify. Use direct, short sentences (≤ 20 words),
      one idea per sentence.
    • Be creative (when appropriate). Is there an anecdote
      or metaphor that makes a concept more accessible?
    • Test it. Run your summary past family, friends, or colleagues outside your field. What works and what doesn't?
    Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:
    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.