ICTS News Success Stories

ICTS Pilot Funding Drives Research on Neurodegenerative Diseases

Since the inception of the ICTS in 2007, pilot funding opportunities have provided investigators with support for promising and innovative translational research. Frequently, this pilot funding begets research and novel findings that assist investigators in applying for additional grant mechanisms. In 2019, Guoyan Zhao, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, utilized a unique ICTS pilot funding project to help develop her research on neurodegenerative diseases.

Guoyan Zhao, PhD

Zhao’s ICTS project involved investigating single-nucleus transcriptomic comparison of human brains from patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Parkinson’s disease dementia, or dementia with Lewy bodies. Utilizing the pilot funding, Zhao and her team were able to perform single-nucleus RNA sequencing of postmortem human brain tissues from subjects with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and age and sex matched cognitively normal controls.

“This initial research generated high-quality data and delivered some interesting novel findings,” reflects Zhao. “The preliminary data proved essential to my efforts in submitting additional NIH grant applications.”

Zhao has subsequently received three NIH awards since January 2021, an R03, R01, and R21; all utilizing preliminary data generated from the ICTS-supported pilot study.

Read more about Zhao’s research here:

Four Neuroscience faculty members receive R01 grants

Guoyan Zhao receives grant for single-cell proteomics in the human brain