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Learn about the six Indiana scientists recognized with the 2021 Pilot & Feasibility awards from the IU Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, an NIDDK designated Diabetes Research Center.

Diabetes Research Center awards pilot funding to six Indiana scientists

Six scientists have been recognized with Pilot & Feasibility (P&F) Awards from the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases (CDMD) at Indiana University School of Medicine, an NIDDK-designated Diabetes Research Center. Each awardee received $50,000 to advance studies related to diabetes and metabolic diseases.

Since its inception in 2015, the CDMD P&F Program has awarded more than $1.3 million to 26 scientists statewide. Past awardees represent IU School of Medicine, IU Bloomington, IU-Terre Haute, IU-Fort Wayne, IUPUI School of Science, the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute and Purdue University.

The program boasts a historically successful return on investment. To date, awardees have secured nearly $30 million in additional funding from the NIH—including 24 independent research awards (R awards)—and private foundations following their CDMD P&F awards.

CDMD P&F Program director Jeffrey Elmendorf, PhD, said that the program is about more than funding promising projects; it’s provides a support system to an entire generation of up-and-coming scientists researching diabetes and its associated complications in the state of Indiana.

“I take great pride in the mentorship we provide to P&F applicants--funded or not,” said Elmendorf, who is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology & Physiology. “The goal of these relationships is to provide a source of intellectual support and critique during the project period, and to facilitate the application of the grantee’s scientific expertise to an area of investigation that is new to them.”

Elmendorf said that mentorship is also extended to applicants whose projects are not funded by the program, with critical guidance from tenured faculty on how to increase likelihood of success in future approaches and applications to the CDMD P&F Program or other funding agencies. Collaboration, within the CDMD and elsewhere, is highly encouraged among all applicants and existing CDMD members.

New this year, the program had two special invitations: one for applications focused on diabetes and metabolic disease aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and its related dementias (AD/ADRD)–frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia, vascular cognitive impairment with dementia, and multiple etiology dementias and another for applications from exceptional emerging physician-scientists, who are early in their clinical research careers and show promise of developing into successful independent investigators.

This year’s awardees include 6 investigators from IU, Purdue, and the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute.

Scott Canfield, PhD
Assistant Professor of Anatomy, Cell Biology & Physiology
IU School of Medicine-Terre Haute
Project title: Hyperglycemia-Induced BBB Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease

Chad C. Carroll, PhD
Assistant Professor of Health and Kinesiology
Purdue University
Project title: Mechanisms Underlying Poor Tendon Healing with Diabetes

Gregory Henderson, PhD
Assistant Professor of Nutrition Science
Purdue University
Project title: Targeting plasma free fatty acids through a novel approach as a potential intervention for insulin resistance

Andrew Templin, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine-Endocrinology, IU School of Medicine
Assistant Investigator, Indiana BioSciences Research Institute Diabetes Center
Project title: Susceptibility of primary islet beta cells to RIPK3-mediated necroptosis

I-Chen Yu, PhD
Assistant Research Professor of Anatomy Cell Biology & Physiology
IU School of Medicine-Fort Wayne
Project title: Deciphering the molecular crosstalk of obesity-related cerebrovascular dysfunction in vascular cognitive impairment and dementia

Li Zhang, PhD
Assistant Investigator
Indiana Biosciences Research Institute
Project title: Suppression of antigen-specific monoclonal antibodies in humanized spontaneous Type 1 diabetes mice

Applications are now open for 2022 CDMD P&F Funding
Centrally, the P&F program focuses on supporting new and established investigators as they apply their expertise to research relevant to the treatment of diabetes and complications of diabetes. The program will continue to invite applications directed toward basic biomedical, clinical, and/or translational research questions on cellular and molecular metabolism related to diabetes/obesity/metabolic syndrome, clinical and outcomes research in diabetes and obesity, complications of diabetes and obesity, islet function and survival, and nutrition and physiology of diabetes and obesity. In addition, the program will continue inviting Alzheimer’s-focused and physician-scientist applications.

For details and deadlines, view the 2022 CDMD P&F Award RFA online.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Sara Buckallew

Communications Coordinator

Sara Buckallew works in the Dean's Office of Strategic Communications. As a communications coordinator, Sara supports internal and external communication needs for the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic...