Pilot Feasibility Award Program


The Texas Medical Center Digestive Diseases Center provides support to pilot/feasibility (P/F) projects in the area of GI-related research each year. These funds specifically support projects related to the theme for the DDC - GI infection and injury. GI is defined as the gastrointestinal tract, liver and pancreas. Injury is defined as drug, genetic, ischemic, inflammatory, surgical, nutritional, or stress-induced injury to the gastrointestinal tract. Injury also includes gastrointestinal adaptation and stem cells. Projects should relate to this theme. Awards range between $15,000 to $40,000 for a period of one year. A committee composed of the DDC Internal Advisory Board, plus ad hoc members, evaluates proposals.


Trainees who are recipients of an NRSA individual award (F32) or are supported by an training grant (K08, K22, T32) are eligible for P/F funds, IF they are in their last year of training, have at least one year of research experience, and have suitable expertise and independence to design and carry out the planned experiments. Trainees also should have a commitment from a senior scientist to sponsor their projects and assurance of future faculty appointment from Section/Dept Head. U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status is not required.

Application Guidelines

The 2020/2021 Pilot Feasibility Program will begin in Fall 2020. Announcements will be made in August 2020. For more information or to join the mailing list, please contact program administrator, Sara Tristan, at

This Program Supports

  • New investigators without current or past NIH research support who are seeking to obtain preliminary data to establish a research program in GI-research.
  • Established, funded investigators with no previous work in digestive-disease related areas but who wish to test the applicability of their expertise to a digestive disease-related problem.
  • Established investigators in digestive disease-related areas who wish to test the feasibility of a new or innovative idea, which constitutes a significant departure from their funded research and initiates a new collaboration with another researcher.

2020 Pilot Awardees


Maya Balakrishnan, M.D., Baylor College of Medicine - “Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Women”

Deepavali Chakravarti, Ph.D., The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center - “Telomere dysfunction drives inflammation through YAP”

Gregory Guthrie, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine - “Parenteral lipid effect during obstructive cholestasis”

Fong Lam, M.D., Baylor College of Medicine - “Platelets in APAP-induced Hepatotoxicity”

Mimi Tan, M.D., M.P.H., Baylor College of Medicine, “Predicting Risk of Gastric Intestinal Metaplasia”

See Past Pilot Awardees

Program Flyer


View the 2019-2020 flyer.