MMPC MICROMouse Program

Please Note: The Pilot & Feasibility Program is now part of the MICROMouse Program

MICROMouse funds new pilot research projects for up to $75,000 for one year

The MMPC MICROMouse Program is a competitive grants program awarding up to $75,000 (total costs) for one year to fund research projects that have the potential to enhance and advance the mission of the MMPC as a resource for scientists using mice to study diabetes and obesity. Any independent investigator, including post-doctoral fellows, is eligible to apply. A project must be either: 1) resource-development (e.g., develop, improve, miniaturize, teach, distribute, etc. phenotyping tests for use in mice); or 2) resource-related research (e.g., a new, currently unfunded project where results have potential impact for mouse centered research in diabetes or obesity, particularly those focused on broad biological questions that impact the ability of the MMPC to meet its goals). MICROMouse Program funds are not intended to replace or reduce the fees charged for services requested from an MMPC.

The mission of the MMPC is to advance medical and biological research by providing the scientific community with standardized, high quality metabolic and physiologic phenotyping services for mouse models of diabetes, diabetic complications, obesity and related disorders.

For instructions on how to submit a MICROMouse Funding Program Application to the MMPC web portal please see MMPC MICROMouse Program Application Submission Basic Training (PDF)

Research Objectives
The mission of the MICROMouse Program is to promote the development, application to biological research, and transfer of mouse phenotyping technology that enhances the use of mouse models of diabetes and obesity and related disorders.. Proposals are solicited for investigator-initiated high impact pilot studies to address contemporary scientific challenges. There are two categories of MICROMouse Program projects. Resource-development projects should seek to develop, improve, refine, miniaturize, or transfer mouse phenotyping test technology. Resource-related research projects should ask a biological question, with an emphasis on phenomena that broadly affect mouse model metabolic research. Although there is no requirement for direct collaboration with an MMPC, expected project outcomes should have the potential to add value to the MMPC program. For instance, new tests or technologies might be appropriate additions to the MMPC test catalog, while resource-related research could inform best practices for MMPC services.

Examples of suitable proposals include but are not limited to:

  1. Resource-development projects
    • Develop new phenotyping technologies or miniaturization of existing technologies for use in mice;
    • Adapt existing technologies for use in mice;
    • Provide new tests to meet identifiable needs necessary to phenotype mouse models of metabolic disease;
    • Establish new types of mathematical models, informatics, databases or products that augment the MMPC program;
    • Request funding for travel and housing for students to visit an MMPC to learn to conduct specific tests and reproduce the technology in his/her home lab; or
    • Request funding for short meetings or courses in an area of interest to the MMPC

  2. Resource-related research projects
    • Investigate biological phenomena or parameters that are broadly applicable to metabolic disease research using mouse models. These can include impact of temperature, physical activity, stress, housing conditions, husbandry issues, microbiota, circadian rhythms, diets and feeding behavior, hormone patterns, growth, surgical models, etc.;
    • The pursuit of novel biological questions where the information can enrich or inform an MMPC and otherwise foster its mission.

Eligible Project Directors/Principal Investigators: All academic biomedical researchers who have a doctoral-level position can apply. Post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty are especially encouraged to apply. Applications from post-doctoral fellows must include two letters of recommendation from senior mentors. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

Eligible Organizations: Public or private institutions in the United States, such as universities, colleges, hospitals, and laboratories; units of state and local governments; eligible agencies of the Federal government; faith-based or community-based organizations; Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized); Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized); and Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization.

There is no formal deadline associated with MICROMouse applications, but applications will be reviewed quarterly (March 1, June 1, September 1, December 1) and therefore should be submitted accordingly. A letter of intent with a brief (2-3 sentences) description of the proposed project must be sent to Dr. Richard McIndoe at at least two weeks prior to submission of an application. The letter will be promptly reviewed by the MMPC MICROMouse committee for responsiveness and for the relevance of the project to the MMPC mission. Applications will be accepted only with permission from the MICROMouse committee.

The brief application should be on the PHS 398 form. The following sections are required: Face Page (Form Page 1), Summary (Abstract, Form Page 2), Biosketches, Budget (Form Page 4), Research Plan, Checklist.

The Research Plan must contain the following, where sections A-C combined are limited to 5 pages:
  1. Specific Aims
  2. Research Strategy, consisting of Significance, Innovation, and Approach
  3. Brief but explicit discussion of the value of the research, new technology, training, etc., to the MMPC mission and goals
  4. Signed letters from any collaborating principal investigators that have not signed the application face page
  5. Post-doctoral applicants or others who are not considered independent investigators by their institutions should submit two signed letters of support from mentors or institutional leadership, such as a department chair
  6. Literature Cited
  7. Vertebrate Animals

Applications should be signed by at least one principal investigator and an official representing the submitting institution.

NOTE: Applicants should submit an electronic version of the application via the MMPC website at (PDF format only please).

Applicants may request up to $75,000 total costs (direct + indirect costs) for one year of funding. The project should be distinct from those funded through other support of the applicant. Funds should not be primarily for offsetting costs of MMPC tests. Objectives should be reasonably met within the one year funding period and lead naturally to publication and potential NIH funding. MICROMouse proposals can request funds for MMPC services, but this cannot be the primary goal of the proposal or the majority of the budget. A narrative justification should be provided only for personnel and in the rare event that major equipment is requested (greater than $5,000). The number of awards will depend upon the number, quality, and cost of the applications received and the availability of funds. A second year of funding may be available through a competitive renewal process.

MMPC is an NIDDK/NIH-sponsored Research Consortium. However, MICROMouse awards will be made as subcontracts from the MMPC Coordinating Unit (CU) at Augusta University, not directly from the NIH.

Each submitted proposal will be assigned for peer review by two or three scientists (from within and outside the MMPCs) with appropriate expertise. Standard NIH criteria will be used to evaluate scientific merit (Investigator(s), Significance, Approach, Innovation, and Environment). In addition, reviewers will be asked to judge whether the time and budget are reasonable, and if the project falls within the mission and has potential to enhance MMPC’s service to the research community. The final funding decisions will be made by the MMPC Steering Committee, which will also decide whether unsuccessful proposals may be revised and resubmitted. Applications for competitive renewal (1 additional year) are appropriate in cases where exemplary progress has been made and further investigation is warranted.

Progress Report
A scientific progress report is due within one month following the end of the one-year project period. If a competitive renewal is sought, the letter of intent and application should be received for the review cycle within two months of the end of the current project funding period. Application for competitive renewal is NOT in lieu of a year-end progress report.

Financial Acknowledgment
Please include the following acknowledgment in all posters, manuscripts or scientific materials that were generated in part or whole using funds from the MMPC MICROMouse: 'Financial support for this work was provided by the NIDDK Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Centers (MMPC, under the MICROMouse Program, grant DK076169.'

Contact Information
Richard McIndoe, Ph.D. (Coordinator)
Coordinating and Bioinformatics Unit
Augusta University
Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine
1120 15th Street, CA4124
Augusta, GA 30912-4810
Phone: 706-721-3542
Fax: 706-721-3688

MICROMouse Committee:
John C. (Jack) Rutledge, M.D., Chair
Professor, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Co-Vice Chair for Research
Department of Internal Medicine
Richard A. and Nora Eccles Harrison Endowed Chair for Diabetes Research
Internal Medicine Administration
UC Davis Medical Center
4150 V St., Suite 3100
Sacramento, CA 95817
Kevin Niswender, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Medicine and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Vanderbilt University
7435 MRB IV
2213 Garland Ave.
Nashville, TN 37232
Yvonne M. Ulrich-Lai, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
University of Cincinnati School of Medicine
Metabolic Diseases Institute
2170 East Galbraith Road
Cincinnati, OH 45237
Randall Friedline, Ph.D.
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Program in Molecular Medicine
381 Plantation Street.
Worcester, MA 01605