Basic Biology of Aging at the University of Washington

Pilot Study & Junior Faculty Support

Each year the University of Washington's Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging funds pilot research projects and/or Junior Faculty projects in the basic the biology of aging.

2017 - 2018 Pilot Project Awardees:


Laura Niedernhofer, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute

Identifying the causes of age-related increased ROS

John Chaston, Assistant Professor, Plant & Wildlife Sciences, Brigham Young University

Microbiota-mediated methionine restriction in Drosophila melanogaster

Jessica Preston and Patrick Phillips, Postdoctoral Research Fellow; Professor; Department of Biology, University of Oregon

A Systems level characterization of novel tissue specific regulators of aging plasicity.

Constanza Cortes, Assistant Project Scientist, Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego

Enhanced Skeletal muscle proteostatsis as a determinant of CNS aging


Laura Niedernhofer* - see above

Michael Garratt, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School

Proteomic analysis of slowed cardiac aging with acarbose and 17-a-estradiol

Birgit Schilling, Staff Scientist, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

New proteomics workflows measuring protein turnover in age-dependent muscle atrophy models.

Jessica Preston and Patrick Phillips* - see above

Constanza Cortes* - see above

Invertebrate Healthspan:

Karl Rodriguez, Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Celastrol as a potential therapeutic to longevity and healthspan

Je-Hyun Yoon, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical University of South Carolina

RNA granules in mitochondrial function and lifespan regulation

2016 - 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Pilot Awardee:

Olena Korvatska,  Acting Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, UW

 R47H mutation in the microglial immune receptor TREM2 is a strong genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. We will study the effect of pathogenic TREM2 variants on premature aging of microglia.

2016 – 2017 Pilot Project Awardees:

Alexander Mendenhall, Assistant Professor, Pathology, UW

 Proposing to characterize the loss of lysosome acidification capacity in individual C. elegans cells

David Marcinek, Associate Professor, Radiology, UW

Mitochondrial oxidative stress attenuates exercise signaling in aged muscle.

Joe Chin-Sun Huang, Clinical Instructor, Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine, UW

 Age-specific targets in acute myeloid leukemia DNA damage signaling/response.

2015 – 2016 Pilot Project Awardees:

Wei Wei Dang, Assistant Professor, Molecular & Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine

 Optimization and application of unbiased, high-throughput assays for yeast replicative aging.

Scott Pletcher, Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan

Neurometabolomic analysis of hunger circuits that modulate aging in Drosophila.


2017- 2018 Pilot Project Awards

One year of support (up to $30,000 each) will be awarded for up to three Pilot research projects in the biology of aging. The Pilot Project application may either be designed to rapidly pursue a new finding or research opportunity, or to obtain preliminary data that will serve as a basis for a major research grant application. The projects should build and capitalize upon one or more of the three Research Core Services of our Center: Proteomics, Metabolomics and Invertebrate Longevity & Healthspan (see Prior consultation with the Core Director(s) is strongly advised. Pilot project funds can support reagents, supplies and Center services, but not salaries.  Applications from outside the University of Washington are strongly encouraged.

Applicant Qualifications

  • Junior Faculty members are particularly encouraged to apply for Pilot Projects
  • Postdoctoral fellows cannot serve as Principal Investigators for pilot projects. However, they may receive support via faculty sponsors.
  • Support for projects to study neurodegenerative diseases is infrequently granted, due to overlap with other funding sources.

Deadlines and Award Dates

All Pilot Project Applications Due: April 17, 2017, by 5:00 PM
Anticipated Date of Awards: July 1, 2017
Pilot Study Funding Period: July 1, 2017– June 30, 2018

Application Instructions

 An abbreviated NIH-style application with a cover letter is used.

Applications must include:

  • Cover letter which addresses the following questions:
    • Relation to the Biology of Aging: How does this research specifically relate to the biology of aging?
    • Relation to one or more of the Center Cores
    • Need for Funding: Justify why this work cannot be completed with your existing resources.
    • Facilitation of Independent Funding: How will this support facilitate future independent funding?
    • Potential Reviewers: Suggestions of potential outside (non-UW) reviewers (up-to-5). Please include the affiliation and contact information (phone, fax, email) and a list of any individuals to be excluded as potential reviewers.
    • The National Institutes of Health Grant Form PHS 398-RO1 (in 12pt Times New Roman or 11pt Ariel or larger) with the page restrictions described below.
    • University internal applications for human subjects, recombinant DNA, hazardous materials or animal approval, if applicable, should be completed and attached.

Note: Supply purchases and Core services are administered through our Center without a subcontract to the awardee. A University eGC-1 form is NOT required.

NIH Form PHS 398-RO1 Page Restrictions

  1. Face Page (does NOT need to be signed by OSP) (NIH Form, Page AA)
  2. Abstract (limited to 250 words) (NIH Form, Page 2)
  3. Budget (Direct Costs Only) (NIH Form, Page 4)
  4. Budget Justifications (Per NIH Guidelines)
  5. Biographical Sketch (NIH Form, Page 6)
  6. Other Support (NIH Form, Page 7)
  7. Research Plan (6 page maximum for sections a-d):
    a. Specific Aims (usually less than or equal to 1 page)
    b. Background and Significance (usually less than or equal to 1 page)
    c. Preliminary Studies (usually less than or equal to 2 pages)
    d. Research Design & Methods (usually less than or equal to 4 pages)
    e. Human Subjects (if applicable)
    f. Vertebrate Animals (if applicable, provide copy)
    g. Literature Cited (use full titles and page numbers)
    h. Consortium/Contractual Arrangements
    i. Consultants

Selection of awards will be based on scientific merit and program relevance.

Application Submissions

  1. Submit the cover letter and application electronically in PDF or Word format to:
    Ellen Cravens,

For more information, please contact Ellen Cravens at 206-616-4135.