2019 RFA Awardees

2019 Scientific Research Initiative Awardees


  • Principal investigator Evan Keller, Medical School
  • Co-principal investigator Tom Wilson, Medical School
  • Co-principal investigator Jun Li, Medical School
  • Co-principal investigator Arvind Rao, Medical School
  • Co-principal investigator Sunitha Nagrath, College of Engineering
  • Co-principal investigator Justin Colacino, School of Public Health

Website: singlecellspatialanalysis.umich.edu

This program plans to bring next-generation, cellular, high-content technology to a tissue spatial context. Providing tissue spatial context to cellular transcriptomes, proteins and DNA variations will transform our understanding of complex tissues.

spatially-defined transcripts and proteins image

Spatially-defined transcripts & proteins

With the opportunity for three new expert faculty recruits and strengthened shared resources, the Biosciences Initiative support will benefit not only the recruits, but also the large number of existing faculty looking to pursue scientific questions that were inaccessible with past technologies.

This program envisions building a collaborative community focused on spatial transcriptomics analysis projects by hosting seminars and workshops, mentoring, referrals and highly leveraged projects for platform development and scientific exploration.

Learn more from the executive summary.


  • Principal investigator David Kohn, School of Dentistry and College of Engineering
  • Co-principal investigator William Giannobile, School of Dentistry
  • Co-principal investigator Kurt Hankenson, Medical School
  • Co-principal investigator Jan Stegemann, College of Engineering
  • Co-principal investigator Lonnie Shea, College of Engineering

Website: regenerativemedicine.umich.edu

Jaw and teeth Xray

Musculoskeletal, oral and craniofacial tissues, including bone, cartilage, muscle, ligaments and skin, are comprised of multiple cell populations that are well organized to fulfill functional requirements.

Leveraging existing expertise in biomaterials and musculoskeletal tissue engineering, this project aims to fill critical gaps at U-M in imaging and computational design of materials.

With support from the Biosciences Initiative, these investigators plan to develop advanced materials that control the programming of cells and the resulting spatio-temporal organization into functional 3-D tissues.

Learn more from the executive summary.


  • Co-principal investigator Steven P. Schwendeman, College of Pharmacy
  • Co-principal investigator Maria Castro, Medical School

Website: bibraincancer.umich.edu

brain tumor scanMany biomedical research scientists dream of technological discoveries that will someday successfully treat sick people. This project proposes to make those dreams a reality for brain cancer treatment and prognosis by creating a brain cancer thrust area within the Biointerfaces Institute at U-M.

With the Biosciences Initiative support for this project, U-M has the potential to become a world leader in the development and translation of new, advanced technological innovations for helping brain cancer patients.

Learn more from the executive summary.

2019 Exploratory Opportunity Awardee


  • Principal investigator Ken Cadigan, LSA
  • Co-principal investigator Laura Buttitta, LSA
  • Co-principal investigator Cora MacAlister, LSA
  • Co-principal investigator Tim James, LSA
  • Co-principal investigator Anthony Antonellis, Medical School.

Centered around answering basic and disease-related biological questions, this project aims to improve the university’s organismal repertoire by increasing its diversity of model systems.

To accomplish this, this multidisciplinary group of researchers proposes to design and host a seminar series focused on emerging model system biology, featuring leaders in these topics. Visiting experts will give a public seminar highlighting how they use emerging model systems to address important biological questions.

Learn more from the executive summary.