Frederico Azevedo interviews Ari Rosenberg at

Ari Rosenberg (right) describes his research to postdoc Frederico Azevedo

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WNPRC Pilot Research Awards


Diane M. Duffy, Ph.D., Dept. of Physiological Sciences, Eastern Virginia Medical School, “Androgens Promote Fertilization of Primate Oocytes.” Working with David Abbott, Ph.D.

Helen N. Jones, Ph.D.,  Dept. of Pediatric General & Thoracic Surgery, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, “Nanoparticle-mediated placental therapy to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes.”  Working with Jenna Kropp Schmidt, Ph.D. and Ted Golos, Ph.D.

Jennifer Juno, Ph.D., The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, The University of Melbourne. “Characterizing CD1-restricted T cells in SIV infection.” Working with Shelby O’Connor, Ph.D..

Ari Rosenberg, Ph.D., Dept. of Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Public Health, U.W. Madison. “A novel freely moving macaque preparation for studying the neural basic of navigation.” Dr. Rosenberg is an Affiliate Scientist of the WNPRC.

Raunak Sinha, Ph.D., Dept. of Neurosciences, UW-Madison. “Photoreceptor function in primate fovea.”


Pilot research is intended to help investigators generate preliminary data or results necessary to apply for support from other primary sources of funding. Pilot Research Projects may include preliminary activities on biomedical research topics in keeping with the main research areas of the WNPRC (Regenerative and Reproductive Medicine, Global Infectious Disease, Neuroscience, and Energy Metabolism and Chronic Disease) and are typically developmental or exploratory in nature. Investigators at early phases of their careers are especially encouraged to apply. The awards provide a maximum of $50,000 (direct costs) for a two year period.


  • WNPRC core scientists shall be integrally involved in planning, management, conducting the project and reporting results, as either lead scientist or collaborating investigator with qualified external scientists.
  • Funds may be used for personnel not already supported by the WNPRC base grant, supplies including animals and animal care costs, equipment under $5,000 (or over this amount with permission), and consultants and other expenses, such as surgery, pathology, assays or clinical services for the approved project only.
  • These funds are not to be used for interim support of established projects.
  • Major activities related to the approved project should be conducted on site at the WNPRC.
  • Written semi-annual progress reports will be required.


Prospective applicants are urged to contact the WNPRC Director’s Office, or appropriate core scientist, well in advance of the proposal deadline, to discuss the project and gain a preliminary assessment of its feasibility and alignment with the WNPRC mission. Please download and complete the WNPRC Pilot App Form 2019, then email to Dr. Jon Levine, with a copy to Edi Chan. Briefly, please complete the cover page, provide an NIH Biosketch, Other Support, Specific Aims, Budget (with narrative justification) and Significance, Innovation, and Approach. In addition to the budget and biosketch, the text should not exceed five pages in length. Please note that in addition to the standard NIH format, it is important to include a description of the animal resources needed for the proposal and the WNPRC Research Services, if any, which will be used to carry out the proposed project. This information will be used to determine animal and technical availability.


The applications will be reviewed internally by the WNPRC Executive Committee and Senior Management Team for scientific merit and feasibility, respectively. They will also be reviewed by members of the WNPRC External Advisory Board and other non-WNPRC experts.

Note: all projects must also have an approved UW-Madison IACUC-approved protocol and Biosafety protocol in place before any project can be activated. These can be prepared after initial review and scoring of the proposals.

The NPRC Guidelines for the Pilot Research Project program are appended as follows for additional guidance.


The five major criteria to be used in evaluating Pilot Research Projects and Resource Related Research Projects are as follows:

  1. Significance: Does this study address an important problem? If the Aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced? What will the effect of these studies be on the concepts or methods that drive this field?
  2. Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, including composition of study population, methods, and analyses developed adequately, well-integrated, and appropriate to the Aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?
  3. Innovation: Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? Are the Aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?
  4. Investigator: Is/are the investigator(s) appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the Principal Investigator and other researchers (if any)? PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE descriptive biographical information unless important to the evaluation of merit.
  5. Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed experiments take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support? PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE description of available facilities or equipment unless important to the evaluation of merit.

View our recent WNPRC pilot research project awardees.