Brigham and Women’s Hospital Researchers Receive NIH Awards to Encourage High-Risk Research and Inno





The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is awarding $348 million to encourage investigators to explore bold ideas that have the potential to catapult fields forward and speed the translation of research into improved health. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) are recipients of two of the 115 awards, presented from three innovative research programs supported by the NIH Common Fund’s Roadmap for Medical Research: the NIH Director’s Transformative R01 (T-R01) Awards, Pioneer Awards, and New Innovator Awards.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Researchers Receive NIH Awards to Encourage High-Risk Research and Innovation

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is awarding $348 million to encourage investigators to explore bold ideas that have the potential to catapult fields forward and speed the translation of research into improved health. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) are recipients of two of the 115 awards, presented from three innovative research programs supported by the NIH Common Fund’s Roadmap for Medical Research: the NIH Director’s Transformative R01 (T-R01) Awards, Pioneer Awards, and New Innovator Awards.

"The appeal of the Pioneer, New Innovator, and now the T-R01 programs, is that investigators are encouraged to challenge the status quo with innovative ideas, while being given the necessary resources to test them," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "The fact that we continue to receive such strong proposals for funding through the programs reflects the wealth of creative ideas in science today."

Receiving one of the 42 T-R01 grants, Charles Serhan, PhD, of the Reperfusion Center at BWH, and Ru-Rong Ji, PhD, of the Pain Research Center at BWH, are of the first group of researchers to receive support from this newly created program. Supporting highly innovative research is an ongoing effort at the NIH, but the T-R01 Program provides a new opportunity for scientists that is unmatched by any other NIH program. Since no budget cap is imposed and preliminary results are not required, scientists are free to propose new, bold ideas that may require significant resources to pursue. They are also given the flexibility to work in large, complex teams if the complexity of the research problem demands it.

The five year $1,885,525 grant awarded to Drs. Serhan and Ji will support their research titled, Resolvins, protectins, and chronic pain resolution. “This multiple PI grant is a perfect example of inter-department collaboration between a pain research group and an inflammation research group. We believe a deficit in the resolution of inflammation will lead to chronic pain, and this deficit can be treated by novel lipid mediators developed in Dr. Serhan’s laboratory,” said Dr. Ji.

For his work titled, Prevalence, Risk Factors and Consequences of Complex M. tuberculosis Infections, Ted Cohen, MD, MPH, DrPH, of the Division of Global Health Equity at BWH, is one of 55 to receive the New Innovators award, totaling $1,500,000 over five years. Intended to stimulate highly innovative research and support promising new investigators, the award goes to new researchers with exceptionally innovative research ideas that may not yet have the preliminary data required to fare well in the traditional NIH peer review system.

“This is an incredible and unique opportunity that the NIH New Innovator mechanism will provide. This support will allow me to test new ideas and to take on higher-risk questions than is typically possible for an investigator at my career stage,” said Dr. Cohen.