NIH Press Release
National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Tuesday, March 31, 1998

Alisa Zapp Machalek
(301) 496-7301

NIGMS Makes First Awards for "High Risk/High Impact" Studies

In an effort to encourage scientists to submit grant applications for highly innovative--but also highly risky--research studies, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) issued a call last March for "high risk/high impact" proposals. Now, NIGMS has awarded $2 million to support 20 grants from the first round of applications.

"These awards will provide an avenue for scientists to pursue innovative hypotheses that, if confirmed, would have a substantial impact on current thinking or approaches," said Marvin Cassman, Ph.D., director of NIGMS.

Four of the newly awarded grants are described below. The principal investigator's name and institution are in parentheses.

NIGMS received 102 applications in the first round--an enthusiastic response for a new initiative. "While some of these first applications were not appropriate for the program, others were "right-on," according to James Anderson, Ph.D., the NIGMS program director who spearheaded the initiative. "We expect that as word spreads about what we're looking for, more and more people will find it in their interest to apply," he said.

The program supports research that is both "high impact" and "high risk"--high impact because it has the potential for ground-breaking, precedent-setting significance, and high risk because it either lacks sufficient preliminary data to ensure its feasibility, or involves using a new model system or technique.

The research must fall within the confines of NIGMS' mission, which is broad-based, fundamental research in areas such as cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, biochemistry, bioengineering, anesthesiology, trauma, and burn injury.

The grants are awarded for up to two years and up to $70,000 per year in direct costs. They are non-renewable, but may be incorporated into a subsequent application for a regular research grant. Application deadlines are February 1, June 1, and October 1.

For further information, see

To arrange an interview with Dr. Cassman or Dr. Anderson, call the NIGMS Public Information Office at (301) 496-7301.

"High Risk/High Impact" Grant Awards--March 31, 1998

"Genes Mediating Cell Competition and Survival," Nicholas E. Baker, Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

"In vivo Chemiluminescent Activation of Photosensitizers," Susan L. Carpenter, Ph.D., Iowa State University, Ames.

"Extrinsic Modulation of Protein-Ligand Recognition," Ashutosh Chilkoti, Ph.D., Duke University, Durham, NC.

"Assay System for Evaluating Cellular Antisense Delivery," Moo J. Cho, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

"Bacterial Host/Vector Expression of Membrane Protein," Mary Collins, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

"In situ, Remotely Interrogatable Magnetochemical Sensors," Craig Grimes, Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Lexington.

"Chemical Shift of H2O as Index of Vascular PO2," Thomas Jue, Ph.D., University of California, Davis.

"Physiological Function of Endogenous Hydrogen Sulfide," Hideo Kimura, Ph.D., Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego, CA.

"Artificial Placenta for in vitro Drug Screening," Douglas A. Kniss, Ph.D., Ohio State University, Columbus.

"Regulation of Apoptosis by NOS," Joan B. Mannick, M.D., Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA.

"Virus DNA Targeting Mechanism--The Target," Gerd G. Maul, Ph.D., The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

"Tolerance in Non-Clonal Immune Systems," David Nemazee, Ph.D., National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO.

"Testing a New Model of CO2 Transport in the Blood," Henry D. Prange, Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington.

"Ultimate Signal-to-Noise in Low-Frequency EPR," George A. Rinard, Ph.D., University of Denver, CO.

"In vivo Gene Targeting and Gene Therapy in Zebrafish," Michael C. Schmale, Ph.D., University of Miami, FL.

"Molecular Cytology of Mitochondrial DNA Replication," Richard M. Showman, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, Columbia.

"Tools for Genetic Mapping in Yeast," David J. Stillman, Ph.D., University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

"Novel Cell Labeling for in vivo MRI Studies," Daniel Turnbull, Ph.D., New York University Medical Center, New York, NY.

"In vivo Receptor Binding of Biopharmaceuticals," Peter Veng-Pedersen, Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City.

"Adenovirus Mediated Neuronal GABAA Receptor Engineering," Jay Yang, Ph.D., University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY.