USC Research Center for Liver Diseases: Call for Letters of Intent

Liver stem cells (Image courtesy of Qi-Long Ying)
Liver stem cells (Image courtesy of Qi-Long Ying)

The USC Research Center for Liver Diseases plans to fund pilot projects beginning February 1, 2016. Direct costs of each award will be between $10,000-$50,000.

Awards are potentially renewable for a 2nd (and rarely a 3rd) year, contingent on progress. The Center provides seed money for worthy projects in the field of liver and digestive tract function and disease. Collaborative projects among different laboratories are encouraged. Projects of high merit that appear likely to be successful in leading to R01 funding will be given preference.

Eligibility categories:

  1. New investigator without peer-reviewed support.
  2. Established investigator in another field, interested in redirecting work and expertise to digestive disease.
  3. Established investigator in digestive disease who wishes to make a major shift in emphasis (e.g., intestine to liver). This will require strong justification.

Letter of Intent, NIH biographical sketch and other support are due Wednesday, November 6, 2015. Submit a hard copy and single file electronic copy to:

Maria Vidrio
GI/Liver Division
2011 Zonal Ave., HMR 101
Los Angeles, CA 90033


LOI: November 5, 2015
Application: December 9, 2015
Presentation: January 5, 2016
Start date: February 1, 2016

Your Letter of Intent should include:

  1. A one-page specific aims page
  2. A current NIH biosketch
  3. A letter with contact information (telephone and email) and one paragraph stating which eligibility category is relevant (see above) and stating relationship of the work to the themes of the Digestive Diseases Center:
    • Viral Hepatitis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma;
    • Steatohepatitis and Fibrosis;
    • Liver Injury: Hepatotoxicity, (Inflammation, Signal Transduction, Free Radical/Oxidative Stress) and Mitochondrial Pathobiology;
    • Repair, Regenerative Medicine and Developmental Biology.

The Center’s Executive Committee will review the letters of intent and select those that appear appropriate. These will be invited to submit a full proposal on NIH PHS398 forms including face page, abstract, biosketch, other support, budget plus justification and a maximum 10 page research plan, with appropriate Vivarium and/or IRB approval (at least pending — funds will not be awarded unless these approvals are available). Full proposals should be provided as one hard copy to HMR 101 and a single file electronic copy to For competitive renewal for a second year, a Progress Report of up to five pages should be submitted. A third year of support can be considered but must be strongly justified. Final application receipt deadline of the hard copy and electronic copy is December 9, 2015 in HMR 603. The applicants submitting full proposals will be expected to present a brief overview of their proposal and answer questions at the Annual Symposium on January 15, 2016. Following review of the written and oral presentation, the External Advisory Board will score the proposals and recommend funding level. Funded projects will have a February 1, 2016 start date. If funds are awarded, they cannot be used for a purpose other than that for which they were originally given.