NICBR Announces First Collaboration Project Awards

Courtesy of the NICBR Public Affairs/Community Relations Subcommittee
Two men viewing an instrument.

De Chen (left), FNLCR, holds the new objective lens purchased with the NICBR Collaborative Project Award. His collaborator, CPT Sanjay Krishnaswamy (right) is with USAMRIID.

Courtesy of the NICBR Public Affairs/Community Relations Subcommittee

The National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research (NICBR) announced the 2012 NICBR Collaboration Project Award (CPA) Program winners in December. The award, the first of its kind for NICBR, was adapted from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Young Investigator Award Program. This year, the CPA was bestowed to three research projects pertaining to collaborations between NICBR agencies.

 “The NICBR collaboration awards are a mechanism to encourage interactions with NICBR partners,” said Howard Young, Ph.D., Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, NCI. The award is meant to foster collaboration among the fellows, trainees, and other equivalent junior staff affiliated with NICBR partners and located at, or having a strong link to, activities at the Fort Detrick location. It is also designed to give junior investigators the chance to explore new areas of research in a collaborative manner that takes advantage of the complementary strengths of NICBR partner laboratories.

Winners received up to $10,000 for each project. The awards are to be used to purchase materials and supplies to aid in their research.

The awardees expressed their excitement on being a part of a new and mutually beneficial awards program.  De Chen, Ph.D., said that he is very happy with the award, which enabled laboratory personnel to purchase a new, 100x objective lens to conduct the appropriate level of microscopy on their project.

Awardees Michael Lindquist, Ph.D., and Kimberly Boelte, Ph.D., decided to study how viruses affect pericytes (cells found in the central nervous system) to get a more in-depth look at how they influence hantavirus infection—which has a potentially life-threatening outcome in humans. “I’m very excited about the award,” said Boelte. “I knew Michael and his history with infection models, and we thought it was a good idea to collaborate and to pool our backgrounds on a project together.”

NICBR leadership also expressed its enthusiasm for the program. NCI Fort Detrick Interagency Coordinating Committee representative Kristin Komschlies, Ph.D., said, “We are very excited to announce the winners of the NICBR Collaboration Awards. These investigators embrace what NICBR is all about—advancing biological research through collaboration and sharing of our talents, tools, and resources. We look forward to future NICBR awardees.”

Summaries and progress of the 2012 awarded projects will be presented at the Spring Research Festival, taking place May 8 and 9 at Fort Detrick.

Call for Applicants for 2013 Awards

The call for applicants to the 2013 NICBR Collaboration Project Awards will be announced around the time of the Spring Research Festival. The suggested guideline is that applicants should be no more than six years out from receipt of their advanced degree or be actively working toward an advanced degree. Expected deadline for submission will be early June, and decisions on awardees will be made in July. For more information, please contact your agency’s NICBR Scientific Interaction Subcommittee representative.


2012 Collaboration Project Award Winners

CPT Sanjay Krishnaswamy, Bacteriology Division, United States Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), and De Chen, Ph.D., Optical Microscopy and Analysis Laboratory, SAIC-Frederick, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNL)
Project Title: Mechanistic Characterization of Bacterial Secretion Systems with Super-resolution Fluorescence Microscopy

Feng Wei, Ph.D., NCI Center for Cancer Research, and CPT Katie Carr, Bacteriology Division, USAMRIID
Project Title: Evaluating the Alarmin, HMGN1, as a T cell Independent Immune Adjuvant When Combined with B. anthracis Capsule

Michael Lindquist, Ph.D., Virology Division, USAMRIID, and Kimberly Boelte, Ph.D., NCI Center for Cancer Research
Project Title: The Role of Pericytes in Hantavirus-Induced Vascular Dysfunction