Diabetes Research Center

Pilot & Feasibility

Feasibility Studies:
2012 – 2013 P&F Awardees

Hyok Joon Kwon, PhD

Title: High Fat Diet-induced Adipose Tissue Fibrosis.
The goal of this proposal is to understand the molecular mechanisms of adipose tissue fibrosis in obese rodents and humans. During HFD-induced obesity, pro-inflammatory cytokines stimulate production of IL-13. IL-13 and TNF-α in turn, synergize to induce TGF-β1 producing adipose tissue macrophages resulting in adipose tissue fibrosis.

Alison Karasz, PhD

Title: SAATHI - South Asians Acting Together for Health Improvement: Preventing Diabetes.
The DRTC pilot grant will support SAATHI ("South Asians Acting Towards Health Improvement") a community-based participatory research project designed to help South Asian immigrant women at risk for type II diabetes manage their health and reduce risks.

Colette Knight, MD, BS

Title: The Role of Endogenous SIRT1 Regulators in Glucose Homeostasis and Insulin Action.
Dr. Knight’s research is aimed at understanding how hypothalamic SIRT1 regulates glucose homeostasis and aging. This current project is focused on delineating the mechanism(s) by which SIRT1 is regulated in vivo by examining its interactions with its endogenous inhibitor Deleted in Breast Cancer 1 (DBC1).

Hilda Ye, PhD

Title: BCL6 as a Novel Regulator of Glucose Metabolism.
The proto-oncogene Bcl6 has been extensively studied for its regulatory properties in the immune system. Functional significance of Bcl6 outside of the immune system remains under-explored. The goal of this pilot project is to evaluate the role of Bcl6 as a novel regulator of glucose metabolism with a focus on the downstream effector function of insulin signaling in the liver.


Contact Information

Streamson Chua, MD, PhD


The Pilot and Feasibility Program, a vital component of the Diabetes Research Center, provides initial support for new investigators, allows established investigators to explore new directions, and enables the DRC to attract scientists from other disciplines to diabetes research. Over the past 32 years the DRC has funded 90 feasibility studies.

Pilot and Feasibility funds enable investigators to generate preliminary data to provide the basis for seeking extramural funding for their projects.

Eligibility for Feasibility Study Funding

  1. Applicants must be faculty members of Einstein College of Medicine. 
  2. New faculty members are eligible irrespective of rank or past interests provided that their proposed P&F Studies do not overlap with concurrent extramural funding. Awarded funds are supplemental to resources provided to new recruits by the institution as "start-up packages". Awarded funds are mandated to enrich and promote diabetes research and cannot be used to fulfill institutional recruitment commitments. 
  3. Established Einstein DRC investigators are eligible provided that the proposed study adapts their expertise to a new focus of diabetes research or, alternatively, represents a significant and substantial departure from their current diabetes-related investigations.
  4. All diabetes-related subject matter is acceptable. Research related to the Prevention and Control Division (P&C) is desirable.

Application for 2013-2014 Pilot and Feasibility Awards

Applications are now being accepted for 2013 Pilot and Feasibility awards. This year, we are particularly interested in applications using metabolomic approaches that are applied to diabetes related research projects.

Fund Application Instructions 

Recent Pilot and Feasibility Program Studies


  • Herbert Tanowitz, MD
    Chagas Diseases and Diabetes
  • Bhaskar Das, PhD
    A Novel Role of SIRT1 in Regulating Lipid Homeostasis
  • Fajun Yang, PhD
    Mechanisms of CDK8 Regulation on Lipogenesis
  • Claire Bastie, PhD
    Fyn Kinase-Dependent Regulation of LKB1
  • Laura Bocai, MD
    Effect of Insulin on Cardiovascular Complications of Type 2 Diabetes in ACCORD  


  • Jeffrey Gonzalez, PhD        
    Reducing Distress and Improving Treatment Adherence in Type 1 Diabetes.
  • Liang Zhu, MD, PhD
    Role of Rb In Obesity and Diabetes Through Regulation of Hypothalamic Neurons.


  • Richard Kitsis, MD
    ARC and Beta-Cell Apoptosis: Molecular Mechanisms and Physiological Significance
  • Steve Almo, PhD
    Multivalent Peptide-MHC Constructs for Treating Diabetes
  • Tao Wang, PhD
    Genetic Link Between Type 2 diabetes and Postmenopausal Breast Cancer
  • David Silver, PhD
    Role of FIT Proteins in Obesity and Insulin Resistance
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