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Pilot Project Program

The pilot project program is considered one of the most important mechanisms by which the ADRC achieves it goal of kindling new research and careers among trainees and junior investigators, but also to aide established researchers to shift their focus onto AD and related disorders. To illustrate the success of this program, below is a sampling of investigators who received pilot awards. The first 6 are examples of investigators who received their pilot funding as junior investigators, while the seventh example illustrates how the funding mechanism aided in shifting a senior investigator’s research focus.

  1. Dr. Lorraine Clark, who has leveraged data from her pilot project to receive other funding (four from the NIH, and from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association), and who became a Project leader in the last ADRC cycle. Dr. Clark is currently an Associate Professor of Clinical Pathology at Columbia, Director of the Taub Institute Genomics Core, and Co-Director in the Division of Personalized Genomic Medicine, Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Taub Institute for Alzheimer Disease and Aging.
  2. Dr. Tae-Wan Kim, who has leveraged data from his pilot project to receive four other NIH grants. Dr. Kim subsequently became a Co-PI of an ADRC project in a previous cycle during which time he received tenure at Columbia. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.
  3. Dr. Peter Sheiffele, who has leveraged data from his pilot project to receive other funding both in the US and from European foundations. Dr. Sheiffele is currently a tenured Professor and the head of research program at Biozentrum, University of Basel.
  4. Dr. Joseph Lee, who has leveraged data from his pilot project to receive other funding (three from the NIH, and from the NSF, and the Alzheimer’s Association). Dr. Lee is currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and the Sergievsky Center.
  5. Dr. Gilbert Di Paolo, who has leveraged data from his pilot project to receive two other grants from the NIH. Dr. Di Paolo subsequently became a Co-PI of an ADRC project in a previous cycle during which time he received tenure at Columbia. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.
  6. Dr. James Noble, who has leveraged data from his pilot project to receive a recent grant from the NIH. Dr. Noble is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurology, in the Division of Aging & Dementia, and he is the Director of the Neurology Clerkship.
  7. Dr. Eric Schon, who has leveraged data from his pilot project to receive other funding (from the NIH, the Department of Defense, The Ellison Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery foundation). Although Dr. Schon was already a Professor of Neurology and Genetics when he received his funding, his pilot project constituted a new direction of his lab, studying the relationship of mitochondria dysfunction to AD.