Pilot Study Program

UNYTE offers a pilot funding program open to investigators at research institutions across the Upstate region. The objective of the program is to catalyze the formation of multi-institutional, cross-disciplinary research teams that are focused on a critical issue in clinical or translational research. To receive funding, projects must involve collaboration from at least two UNYTE member institutions. Applicants are strongly encouraged to develop an innovative, team-based approach that reflects the research strengths of the participating institutions, as well as of the investigators themselves.

The table below provides a list of pilot studies funded through this program since request for applications were solicited in 2007.


Project Title

PI and Institution

Co-Investigator and Institution


Regional Ultrasound Wall Strain Measurements to Predict Risk of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) rupture

Ankur Chandra, MD, RPVI (Vascular Surgery, University of Rochester)

Karl Schwarz, MD (Cardiology, University of Rochester)

Steven Day, Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering, RIT)

Dan Phillips, Ph.D. (Biomedical Engineering, RIT)



Validity of Self-Reported Data for Studying Cognitive Problems and Depression

Katia Noyes, Ph.D, MPH (University of Rochester)

University at Buffalo


Regional Stat Tumor Procurement to Support Studies of Lymphoma

Richard Burack, MD, PhD



Protein Kinase C Activation and Inhibition of VLDL Triglyceride Export Defines a Mechanism for Development of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Janet Sparks, PhD



The Upstate New York Network for Collaborative Biomedical Imaging

Axel W.E. Wismueller, MD, PhD
Avice M. O'Connell, MD, (University of Rochester)

Andrzej Krol, PhD
Wei Lee, PhD
(Upstate Medical University)


Determining the Effect of Estrogen Receptor on Binding of Tumor Suppressor p53 to Target gene Promoters

Susannah Gal, PhD (Binghamton University)

Gokul Das, PhD (Roswell Park Cancer Institute)


Epidemiology of vancomycin susceptibility phenotypes associated with suboptimal clinical outcomes among patients with MRSA bloodstream infections

Tom Lodise, PharmD (Albany College of Pharmacy)

Brian Tsuji, PharmD (University at Buffalo)


Development of a model system for novel therapeutics against AML

Jennifer Moffatt, PhD (Upstate Medical University

Gerald Feuer, PhD (Upstate Medical University)
Craig Jordan, PhD (University of Rochester)


Potent Lipid Mediators and Ischemic Heart Disease

Robert C.Block, MD, MPH (University of Rochester)

Shaker Mousa, Ph.D (Albany College of Pharmacy)
Thomas Brenna, PhD (Cornell University)


The Upstate Imaging Biomarkers Consortium

Ronald Gottlieb, MD (Roswell Park Cancer Institute)

Vikram Dogra, MD (University of Rochester)


Emergency Research Network of the Empire State (ERNES)

Sandra Schneider, MD (University of Rochester)

SUNY Upstate Medical University
Bassett Healthcare
Albany Medical College
Guthrie Healthcare System

We are proud to announce that several collaborative studies have emanated from these pilot studies. 

An R21 award from NHLBI has been received by Dr. Robert Block (KL2 Scholar) and collaborators in his lipidomics project in partnership with Cornell University (Thomas Brenna, PhD) and the Albany School of Pharmacy (Shaker Mousa, PhD).  To view the grant proposal, please click here.


A large study of postpartum weight gain has received U01 funding for Diana Fernandez, MD, PhD (U of R) and Christine Olson, RD, PhD (Cornell), which used to the Rochester IRB as lead institution and includes Susan Groth, RN, PhD (KL2 Scholar) as a Co-investigator.


A Center Grant on neonatal pathogens, submitted by Gloria Pryhuber, PhD and Thomas Mariani, PhD (Department of Pediatrics and Environmental Health) in partnership with the Department of Pediatrics of University at Buffalo, was questioned by NIH Study Section about the extent of UB-UR collaboration.  A letter from the UR-CTSI describing UNYTRN helped to reassure the program officers; funding was ultimately approved. Neither institution independently would have been competitive for this large center grant. A second UR-UB collaboration in pediatric infectious disease is being submitted in June, 2010.


Gene Morse, PharmD and Qing Ma, PhD from the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences are partially supported by the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics (CHET) to develop T1 research capacity. The UR-CTSI has provided letters of support to several bioinformatics initiatives involving the New York State Center of Excellence at the University at Buffalo.