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Pilot Projects

Download RFP and schedule: RFAADRCYR31.pdf

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
5. Strategic impact on ADRC goals.

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

Name Position E-mail Telephone
Helena Chui, M.D. Admin Core chui@usc.edu (323) 442-7686
Berislav Zlokovic, MD, Ph.D. Admin Core Berislav.zlokovic@med.usc.edu (323) 442-7600
Caleb Finch, Ph.D. Admin Core cefinch@usc.edu (213) 740-1757
Lon Schneider, M.D. Clinical Core lschneid@usc.edu (323) 442-7600
Freddi Segal-Gidan, PA, PhD. Education Core segalgi@usc.edu (562) 385-6871
Arthur Toga, PhD Data, Imaging and Informatics Core Toga@usc.edu (323) 442-7246
Wendy Mack, Ph.D Data, Imaging and Informatics Core wmack@usc.edu (323) 442-1820
Paul Thompson, Ph.D. Imaging Core pthom@usc.edu (323) 442-7246
Carol Miller, M.D. Pathology Core carolmil@usc.edu (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.


Wednesday January 7, 2015 – Letter of intent due (extended)
Please submit an NIH biosketch and 500 word structured abstract to etaylor@usc.edu, 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.
Friday, January 16, 2015 – Invitation to semi-finalists to submit a proposal
Monday, February 9 , 2015 – 3 page proposal due to ADRC
Friday, February 13, 2015 – Final selection of proposals (to be sent for external review)
Monday, March 2, 2015 – Feedback from External Review Committee
Monday March 16, 2015 – Final pilot proposals due to ADRC