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Electronic Submission Deadline:  July 10, 2019, 6 PM EST

Approximate Award Date:  September 1, 2019

Scientific Scope of the Pilot and Feasibility (P/F) Awards Program

Applicants are invited to propose a one-year $20,000 Pilot and Feasibility project that utilizes primary human cells in culture.

The Tufts Center for Enteric Diseases in Engineered Tissues (CEDET) fosters research directed toward investigating the interaction of pathogens with primary human intestinal tissues.  The Center has expertise in the isolation and culture of enteroids and colonoids from human biopsy samples and is developing technologies for scaffolding of these cells in either static or perfused cultures.  Interaction of the following pathogens in these culture systems is currently being pursued:  Vibrio cholera, enteropathogenic Yersinia, Clostridium difficile, and Cryptosporidium.  The Center is funded by an NIAID funding opportunity titled Human Tissue Models for Infectious Diseases (HTMID), with the purpose of establishing multidisciplinary research Centers focused on developing innovative in vitro human tissue models for basic and translational research on infectious diseases. In total, NIAID is funding three HTMID centers.

The mission of the Center is to reconstruct events that occur in the human gut during enteric pathogen-promoted diseases, using engineered 3-dimensional human tissues, focusing primarily on using organoid-derived cells from patient samples.  We are particularly interested in approaches that expand these systems, and allow the introduction of immune cells, nerve cells, capillaries and synthetic lymph nodes with the goal of accurately mimicking gut architecture and physiology.  Strategies that allow the establishment of a robust and stable human microbiota would also contribute to the mission of the Center.  Pilot & Feasibility projects will be considered for support if they relate to this mission.

Eligible projects may be in areas such as:

  • Three-dimensional culture models of primary human cells
  • Development of three-dimensional models for co-culture of immune cells with primary human enteric cells
  • Introduction of capillary flow into scaffolded mini-guts
  • Introduction of enteric nerves into the tissues
  • Analysis of pathogen interaction with patient-derived enteric cell isolates
  • Strategies for differentiation of organoids into enteric cell subpopulations
  • Three dimensional models for culture of pathogens in the presence of immune cells.
  • Strategies for culturing and characterization  of microbiota in the presence of primary human cells.

Application Procedure

The application deadline is July 10, 2019. All applications must be compiled and submitted as a single PDF to  Please cc: the application to the OVPR Office of Research Development (  Signed originals of the face page, budget page, IACUC and/or IRB approvals will be requested if the project is approved.  Use the NIH format for an R21 (6-page research strategy and 1-page Specific Aims).  The link to the NIH forms is


Ralph Isberg, Co-Director (617) 636-3993

David Kaplan, Co-Director (617) 627-3251