Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC)
Resources for Investigators - Pilot Projects

Resources for Investigators

Pilot Projects                          '



Research Themes

ADRC Organization (6 Cores)                      
Pilot Projects
Request to use ADRC Resources

Opportunity Each year, the ADRC will select and fund two pilot projects.  Applicants may request direct costs up to $30,000 for one-year pilot projects (April 1, 2015- March 31, 2016). Applicants must identify a USC ADRC collaborator/sponsor (see below).  Postdocs may apply with a faculty sponsor.


Theme Reducing Alzheimer and Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment in Diverse Populations

The ADRC focuses on mild cognitive changes related to Alzheimer, cerebrovascular disease, and their interactions in diverse communities. We seek new basic, clinical and psychosocial approaches to the pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment of early cognitive impairment in humans and animal models. We encourage the development of new approaches to intervention and translational research from preclinical to early phase trials.

Purpose Pilot projects may meet one of more of the following objectives:

  1. foster new investigators with interests in cognitive impairment by providing funds to gather preliminary data,
  2. attract established investigator in non-AD area to become involved in dementia research,
  3. develop pilot or preliminary data for R01 (e.g., assess feasibility of a study or a method in a small sample, before proposing a more definitive study in a large sample).  

Project Design  Interested investigators are encouraged to work closely with an ADRC Core or Project Leader in designing a pilot project.   In addition, the ADRC biostatistician (Dr.. Mack) must be involved early in the design of ADRC pilot projects or use of the ADRC database. 

Review There is a two-step process for selecting pilot projects: first a preliminary review by the ADRC Executive Committee, followed by a second level outside review (i.e., a committee to review pilot grant applications comprising scientists from outside the ADRC often from our external advisory committee).  The same criteria will be applied at both review steps: 1) scientific merit (significance, innovation, feasibility), 2) investigator (potential, expertise), 3) cost-effective use of Core resources 4) likelihood of leading to R01 or other external source; and 5) strategic impact on ADRC goals.  

ADRC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:  Contact any of the following for collaboration/ sponsorship:





Helena Chui, M.D.

Admin Core

(323) 442-7686

Berislav Zlokovic, MD, Ph.D.

Admin Core

(323) 442-

Caleb Finch, Ph.D.

Admin Core

(213) 740-1757

Lon Schneider, M.D.

Clinical Core

(323) 442-7600

Bradley Williams, Pharm.D.

Education Core

(323) 442-1559

Arthur Toga, PhD

Data Core

(323) 442-7246

Wendy Mack, Ph.D

Data Core

(323) 442-1820

Meng Law, M.D.

Imaging Core

(213) 442-7483

Carol Miller, M.D.

Pathology Core

(323) 442-1602


The Executive Committee will request a status report on each approved proposal at six-month intervals.  Investigators must agree to submit abstracts and manuscripts for review by the Executive Committee, to acknowledge NIA funding (P30 AG01542), and to submit accepted manuscripts to PubMed Central.  

Timetable  (sample)

Monday, December 1, 2014 – Letter of intent due

Please submit an NIH biosketch and 500 word structured abstract to, Include the title of study, investigator(s), ADRC collaborator/sponsor, rationale, specific aims, methodology, study duration, and requested direct costs.  Letters of intent will be ranked based on scientific merit and integration with ADRC research theme.

Monday, December 15, 2014 – Invitation to semi-finalists to submit a proposal

Monday, January 5, 2015 – 3 page proposal due to ADRC

Friday, January 12, 2015 – Final selection of proposals (to be sent for external review)

Friday, February 9, 2015 – Final pilot proposals due to ADRC