The Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) is committed to supporting researchers who strive to conduct transformative, innovative, translational research with the potential to change medicine.


The Scripps Translational Science Institute’s Pilot Study Award Program supports the development of preliminary data through translational research that has significant potential to impact human health. The Program is a component of the NCATS UL1 TR001114 Clinical Translational Science Award.

Up to six grants will be awarded. Budgets are limited to $50K in direct costs. IDC will be added per institutional guidelines by the grants office. An award may competitively re-apply for a potential second year $50K direct cost extension upon evidence of material progress in accomplishing the stated project goals.

Eligibility and Criteria for Review

Faculty at The Scripps Research Institute are well as physicians and clinical residents/fellows at Scripps Health are eligible to apply. All pilot projects must demonstrate a robust translational science and/or a clinical discipline liaison.

The application review criteria are:

  • Multi-disciplinary; connecting basic and clinical science
  • Likelihood of having an impact to change medicine
  • Soundness of hypothesis, research methodology and statistical considerations
  • Track record of the applicant and the co-investigator(s)
  • Likelihood of leading to future independent funding and scientific publication
  • Integration or impact of community engagement aspects into protocol design

Applications from individuals of under-represented minorities are highly encouraged.

Review Process

There will be a 2-stage review process. The applications will be pre-screened to ensure that review criteria are addressed in the submission. The second stage will be an NIH-model study section review and ranking by the STSI Science Committee.


Download the instructions for the full application.

To learn how to enhance your application on the principles of community engagement, read “The Principles of Community Engaged Research Toolbox”.

Download the application form.

Application deadlines

Letter of Intent due – February 1 , 2016

Application deadline – March 14, 2016

Study Section Meeting – April 12, 2016

Notice of Awards – April 29, 2016

Project Period Award Date – May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017

Letter of Intent (1 page maximum)

A Letter of Intent must include the following: 1) names and affiliations of the PI, co-investigator (if any), and clinical and translational research liaisons; 2) proposal title; 3) disease(s) targeted; and 4) project summary, including relevance to disease and health.

Please email the LOI to Michelle Miller at [email protected] by February 1, 2016.

Contact Information

Scripps Translational Science Institute
3344 North Torrey Pines Court, Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037
858-554-5775 / [email protected]

View a list of awardees from 2015.

Previously funded study topics include:

  • Aging
    • Genetic dissection of heart function with age: Role of ILK and associated proteins
    • Improving visual function in patients with age-related macular degeneration
  • Autism
    • Pilot re-sequencing and characterization of variants on 5p14 in children with autism
  • Cancer
    • Characterization of embryonic stem cell markers on circular tumor cells
    • Genetic profiling of guiding breast cancer screening
    • Identification of recurrent gene fusion in solid tumors
    • Identifying miRNA signatures in blood and saliva for early detection of lung cancer
    • Investigation of new inhibitors of hyaluronidase-1 for treatment of cancer
    • Mitochondrial complex I alterations in breast cancer
    • PRAK as an adjunctive marker for preoperative diagnosis of thyroid cancer
    • Role of human skin-resident and blood T cells in melanoma surveillance
    • Synthetic lethal targets with chromatin remodeling mutations in cancer
    • argeting B cell lymphomas with liposomes carrying glycerin ligands of CD22
    • Targeting hyaluronidase-1 for treatment of cancer progression
  • Cardiology
    • Cytochrome variant in CYP2C19 and platelet responsiveness to clopidogrel
    • Genetic dissection of heart function with age: role of ILK and associated proteins
    • Impact of genotype on platelet function and clinical outcome after PCI: SEASIDE substudy
    • Nanostructure-initiated MS as a new platform in atherosclerosis diagnostics
    • The role of mia2 in ApoA1 secretion and HDL biogenesis
  • Cystic fibrosis
    • Biological implications of tetramic acid
    • Contribution of P. aeruginosa cell cycle control to chronic infections
  • Dermatology
    • A novel therapeutic target for chronic inflammatory skin disorders
  • Diabetes
    • Skin T cell function in diabetic patients
  • Friedriech’s ataxia
    • Secondary genetic modifiers in Friedrich’s ataxia
  • Hematology
    • Investigation of YRSact as therapeutic agent for thrombocytopenia
  • Infectious diseases
    • Clinical significance and therapeutic application of pin1 anti-retroviral activity
    • Contribution of P. aeruginosa cell cycle control to chronic infections
    • HERV activation in primary HIV-1 infection
  • Malaria
    • Citrulline as adjunctive therapy for severe malaria
  • Neurology
    • Identify genetic variations within thermoTRPs that affect pain and migraine in humans
    • LPA signaling in hydrocephalus
    • Mechanisms of inflammation in multiple sclerosis
    • Role of 5-HT7 receptor gene polymorphisms on antidepressant response in bipolar disorder
  • Obesity
    • Regulation of adiponectin receptor 1 and 2 leptin and insulin in the POA of the hypothalamus
  • Ophthalmology
    • Facilitating exocytosis of lipofuscin for the treatment of macular degeneration
    • Improving visual function in patients with age-related macular degeneration
    • Novel treatment of Malattia Leventinese (ML) using protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors
    • Toward the identification of an artificial chromophore to restore vision
  • Osteoporosis
    • Association of plasma serotonin (5HT), 5HT-related SNPs and bone mineral density
  • Pulmonary disease
    • Nanoparticles for safe reversal of heparin anticoagulation
  • Renal disease
    • Role of innate immunity in human ischemic renal disease
  • Stem cells
    • Induced pluripotent cells in cartilage injury and repair
  • Vascular disease
    • Discovery of novel plasma biomarkers for VTE risk