CTSI coordinating COVID-19 research and sponsoring new funding opportunity

Pitt and UPMC remain at the center of research on the coronavirus COVID-19, and Pitt’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has been tasked with helping coordinate resources, expertise, research tools and lab capabilities.

In addition, CTSI is offering a new pilot research funding opportunity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a letter of intent due by 11:59 p.m. April 3. The program will give out grants of up to $50,000 each, with a maximum distribution of $200,000. The principal investigator must be a Pitt faculty member. The projects selected will be informed by April 16 and funding could start as early as May 1.

Proposals must investigate a problem directly related to COVID-19. There are no restrictions on whether the work focuses on basic science, clinical science, epidemiology, health services or psychosocial research. A preference will be made for projects with a well-described and direct path to reducing the harmful effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic for individuals, groups and society. For more information, visit the CTSI website or email ctsipilots@pitt.edu.

“CTSI is looking to do its part to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. There are great minds at the University, and we hope that these grants will provide the funding for researchers to find solutions that are so desperately needed,” Steven Reis, associate vice chancellor for clinical research at the Schools of Health Sciences and director of CTSI, told @Pitt.

So far, 130 teams working on human subject and 41 basic/pre-clinical studies have have submitted surveys about their research through the covid19research.pitt.edu site. The surveys will help CTSI identify collaborative opportunities, streamline regulatory submissions, and assess researchers’ needs.

The site also lists funding opportunities for a variety of coronavirus-related research from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and more.

Pitt’s Center for Vaccine Research was one of the first facilities to get a sample of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control for research and possible vaccine development.

On a different research front, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recently asked Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health and the University of Pennsylvania for help with complex population-health modeling to determine how much the state’s health care system could be inundated if the efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 don’t work as well as hoped, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Pitt’s Framework for Epidemiological Dynamics (FRED), which was developed to model outbreaks of flu, dengue fever and measles, is one of the tools being used.

— Susan Jones


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