Application period is now closed.

Pilot and Feasibility Study funding is available through the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Core Center (CURE: DDRCC) and CTSI for high quality and innovative research in the biology, function and diseases of the digestive system.

Special emphasis is placed on receptor and signal transduction mechanisms, brain-gut interactions, neurogastroenterology, gastrointestinal and pancreatic physiology, pathophysiology and inflammation, and mechanisms underlying diseases of the digestive system. Proposed projects should lead to peer-reviewed extramural funding such as NIH, VA or related agency research grants in which PFS awardees serve as Principal Investigators. Awards are up to $40,000/year. Projects should be of relevance to the overall CURE Research Program.

CTSI funding made available by the CURE P&F grant mechanism was vital to allow me the possibility to process my microbiome samples needed for the proposed project. This aided in elevating the research questions proposed with attention to possible microbiome-directed therapeutic interventions for the future.

Arpana Gupta, PhD | Department of Medicine


Category 1. New investigators without current or past independent NIH or related agency research support as principal investigators, who are seeking to establish their own independent research program. Young investigators supported by Career Development or Mentor awards (e.g. K01, K08 or similar) are considered eligible for category 1 and encouraged to apply for PFS funding.

Category 2. Established investigators with currently active research support, who have not been involved in research of the digestive system and who want to enter this field of research.

Category 3. Established investigators with currently active extramural support for research in the digestive system, who want to pursue a new research direction in the field of gastroenterology, which represents a significant departure from their funded research.

Highly innovative proposals are highly encouraged. Category 1 is given preference.

Award Terms:

  1. Applicants must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have at least 3 years of postgraduate research experience.
  2. Trainees who are recipient of an NRSA individual award (F32) or are supported by an institutional training grant (T32) or fellowship are eligible in their last year of training.
  3. Applicants must have a UCLA appointment in an academic track (research fellows or postdoctoral scholars are included) by the time of the award.
  4. New investigators without independent support need to provide documentation of support (i.e. space available and financial support beyond the PFS fund) of a UCLA or VA faculty sponsor.
  5. An investigator is eligible only once for PFS support with the exception of new investigators (category 1) whose previous PFS has resulted in independent funding and are now eligible to apply as category 3.
  6. Applicants are required to use at least one Center core in addition to the Administrative Core (see website for list of Cores and services) and must perform research at CURE (VA or UCLA) and/or UCLA only.
  7. Applications establishing collaborative interactions within the Center are encouraged.
  8. CTSI Reporting Requirements will be distributed at the time of the award notification.

Application Process:

LETTER of INTENT (Deadline extended! Due October 22, 2018):

A one-page letter of intent should include 1) the applicant name, rank and affiliation, 2) the category (see eligibility for the categories) for which the applicant wishes to apply, 3) the proposal title, 4) the hypothesis and a paragraph describing the salient features of the project, 5) which core(s) of the CURE: DDRCC will be used, 6) the mentor’s funded research project(s), if the applicant is a junior investigator without independent funding, or of other funded project(s), if the applicant is a senior investigator, and 7) how the proposed project will differ from the funded projects. Applicants will be notified of their eligibility to submit a full application.

The letter of intent (no more than one page in length) and the NIH biosketch should be submitted as a single pdf document to the program coordinator, Jacqueline Ismen (JIsmen@mednet.ucla.eduby October 22, 2018. Documents not conforming will be returned. Applicants will be notified of their eligibility to submit a full application. The template for the letter of intent and instructions for full applications can be found on the CURE:DDRCC website.


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The UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is a research partnership of UCLA, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and the Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Its mission is to bring biomedical innovations to bear on the greatest health needs of Los Angeles—one of the most ethnically and economically diverse counties in the United States. Our vision is to catalyze research that translates discoveries into tangible improvements in health care, disease prevention and health in our community. The UCLA CTSI is one of more than 50 research hubs supported by the Clinical and Translational Sciences Award (CTSA) program of National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). NCATS—one of 27 Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—was established to transform the translational process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients faster.