Program Director: Dominic Reeds, MD

Enrichment Program Director: Sarah England, PhD

Washington University School of Medicine
660 S. Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110
MSC 8031-14-0002

Currently accepting applications. If you have questions, please contact

Applications must be submitted by 4:00 pm on June 28, 2024.

Award funding will begin October 1, 2024.


  • Awards of up to $50,000 for one year are awarded.
  • A second year of funding is available, but it is a competitive process, and will depend upon successful progress and promise of adequate data to support renewal.

All applications will be reviewed for scientific merit, originality, relevance of the work to nutrition and obesity, the potential for the project to generate data for a successful peer-reviewed grant application, and the potential for the PI to develop into an independent investigator.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • New investigators without current of past NIH research project support (R01, P01, or R24) or other large extramural research support as a Program Director/Principal Investigator.
  • Postdoctoral trainees who are in their last year of training, have suitable expertise and independence to design and carry out the planned experiments, and can provide documentation that they will be faculty members at Washington University at the time of the initiation of the award.
  • No citizenship requirement for P&F applicants.

The Pilot and Feasibility Program provides grant awards each year to junior faculty and helps mentor them on their projects and careers. Support is awarded for a limited time (usually one to two years) to enable eligible investigators to explore the feasibility of a concept related to the mission of the NORC, and generate sufficient data to pursue it through other funding mechanisms (e.g. R01).

The pilot and feasibility studies are intended to:

  • Provide support for new investigators seeking to test a new hypothesis or idea related to nutrition/obesity
  • Allow exploration of possible innovative new directions for established investigators already working in the nutrition/obesity field
  • Stimulate investigators from other areas to participate in nutrition/obesity research
  • Increase diversity in the NORC through existing programs focused on recruitment and retention of medical students, graduate students, residents, fellows and faculty from groups underrepresented in science

Pilot and feasibility study support is not intended for large projects by established investigators that would otherwise be submitted as separate research grant applications, nor is it intended to provide bridging support. These awards are also not intended to support or supplement ongoing funded research of an investigator.

Current Awards

AwardeeProject Title
Daniel Ferguson, PhDRole of microglial mitochondria pyruvate carrier in diet-induced obesity
Kathleen Markan, PhDMechanisms underlying cellular senescence in obesity
Sandip Mukherjee, PhDAdipocyte NAMPT and the regulation of Cav1 expression and function
Aaron Norris, MD, PhDRegulation of metabolism by preoptic hypothalamic circuits
Arin Oestreich, PhDMetabalo-epigenetic programming of fetal chondrocytes by maternal obesity
Max Petersen, MD, PhDEffect of weight loss on adipose tissue lipid-associated macrophages in obesity
Andrea Spray, PhD and
Lora Iannotti, PhD
Obesity prevention intervention in school-age children with Quito and Tulcán
Nathaniel York, PhDHyperglycemia induced hyperexcitability:  A novel role for KATP in the progression of type 2 diabetes

Please acknowledge the Washington University NORC, Nutrition Obesity Research Center,  in your publications by: “Supported by NIH grant P30 DK056341 (Nutrition Obesity Research Center).”