February 10, 2011

Vanderbilt In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (VICMIC) Career Development Awards and Pilot Projects

The Vanderbilt In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (VICMIC) was established by the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science (VUIIS) with a five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Its mission is to develop innovative molecular imaging studies of cancer biology and to advance translational imaging in cancer research. In addition to supporting specialized resources (including an expanded small animal imaging core, a chemistry core, a radiochemistry core and a biostatistics core) and four major research projects, the VICMIC will provide funds for Pilot Projects and Career Development Awards.

Applications are now being solicited for these two funding opportunities.

Pilot Projects (two awards anticipated)
These grants are intended for new research projects that will pursue new directions in the molecular imaging of cancer. These awards are designed to stimulate interdisciplinary collaborations and to present an avenue for introducing and integrating new investigators and innovative technologies and/or methodologies into the VICMIC infrastructure (in specific) and
molecular imaging (in general). Applicants may request up to $25,000 per year for a maximum of two years (no salary; only supplies, equipment, etc.). Continuation of a project into the second year will be contingent
upon the success of the first year, as demonstrated in a progress report and clear connection to the aims of the VICMIC. Investigators will be expected to apply for independent grants (e.g. R01s) when their projects mature.

The application will consist of:
• applicant’s biographical sketch (use the NIH PHS-398 form)
• applicant’s other support (according to NIH guidelines)
• a five-page research proposal organized by specific aims, brief background and rationale, preliminary data (if available), research design and Methods and relevance to the overall aims of the VICMIC
• a letter of support from the department chair
• two additional letters of reference or testimonials

Career Development Awards (two awards anticipated)
Career Development Awards are aimed at physician scientists, junior faculty and postdoctoral research fellows who are new to the field of molecular cancer imaging. Recipients will be scientists who have demonstrated outstanding research potential but who need additional time in a productive scientific environment to establish an independent, multidisciplinary research program.

Applicants may request up to $75,000 per year for a maximum of two years. Awards provide salary and fringe benefits only (100 percent for postdoctoral fellows; for faculty applicants, the sponsoring department chair must commit to provide 75 percent research time during the two-year duration of the award).

Awards will be renewable at the end of the first year, based on progress such as the submission of an NIH grant application. Recipients must present their research at VICIMIC research seminars and investigators’ meetings, as well as submit an annual written progress report.

Applicants must identify a primary faculty mentor with an established NIH-funded research program related to molecular imaging in cancer, who will work closely to facilitate their career development in translational molecular imaging in cancer research. A special requirement for all awards will be that the applicant must also identify a second mentor from a different discipline from the primary mentor. Typically, these mentors will bring a biological/clinical perspective as well as a chemistry or physical science perspective.

The application will consist of:
• biographical sketches of the applicant and the mentor (use the NIH PHS-398 form)
• other supports of the applicant and the mentor (according to NIH guidelines)
• a career development plan elaborating on the applicant’s career goals and program for becoming expert in translational molecular imaging in cancer research. Faculty who wish to be considered eligible for Career Development Awards must show a demonstrated dedication to interdisciplinary training in molecular imaging, as well as plan to undertake appropriate didactic courses and research experiences in order to progress further along a path toward establishing an independent research career in the molecular imaging of cancer.

• a letter from the department chair supporting the applicant’s faculty appointment and the commitment of the department
• two additional letters of reference or testimonials

VICMIC Pilot Project grants and Career Development Awards are both open to applicants from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College. Applicants for funding may discuss their eligibility and proposed projects directly with the ICMIC Director, John Gore, Ph.D.

• Applications must be received by May 15
• Announcement of awards will be made by July 1
• Funding will begin Sept. 1

Please submit one electronic copy of your application in PDF format as an e-mail attachment to icmicawards@vuiis.vanderbilt.edu.

If you have any questions, please contact Gore, Thomas Yankeelov or Charles Manning, all members of VUIIS.