Pilot Projects

Pilot Projects

Each year the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at MIT invites faculty to submit applications for funding of pilot projects related to environmental health research. The 2014 call has been announced.

For questions about
CEHS Pilot Projects contact:


Pilot Project Program

NEWS: The Center has announced the 2014 Call for Pilot Project Applications. The deadline for this submission is May 16, 2014. We encourage investigators interested in environmental health sciences to apply.

A significant portion of the Center's funding is allocated for Pilot Projects. Pilot projects are particularly important to the Center because they foster innovative research, help to broaden membership, and facilitate collaborations between research groups that might not otherwise occur. The goals of the MIT CEHS Pilot Project Program are to achieve the following:

Pilot projects funded focus on preliminary investigation in an area of environmental health science and toxicology that can be completed within one year. Funding is available to all CEHS members, to all members of the MIT faculty, and under appropriate circumstances to investigators in the wider Boston and Cambridge research community.

A call for applications for pilot project funding is disseminated through publication on the MIT website and announcements for posting distributed through Department, Lab, and Center Headquarters Offices.

Current Pilot Projects

The MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences, through support from the NIH-NIEHS Center Grant P30-ES002109, has awarded four pilot projects with a start date of May 1, 2013.

The three funded applications are:

(1) Steven Barrett
Assistant Professor
Aeronautics and Astronautics

Noelle Selin
Assistant Professor
Engineering System and Atmospheric Chemistry

“The Health Impact of Use of Leaded Aviation Gasoline”
This study aims to quantify population exposure to airborne lead associated with use of leaded aviation gasoline.  The resultant children’s IQ loss incidence and its impact on U.S. economy will be also estimated.

(2) Bevin P. Engelward
Associate Professor
Biological Engineering

Gerald N. Wogan
Emeritus Professor
Biological Engineering

"Development of Application of the RADR/GptΔ Mouse Model: Convergent Technologies for Revealing the Mutagenic Potential of Inflammation"
The proposed study describes an approach for specifically querying the HR susceptibility of somatic stem cells in the colon.  The proposed studies will both provide new mechanistic insights into inflammation-induced cancer, while at the same time paving the way for the application of this mouse model to additional problems.

(3) Jonathan Runstadler
Assistant Professor
Biological Engineering and Division of Comparative Medicine

Wendy Puryear
Research Scientist*
Division of Comparative Medicine

"Investigating the Differential Environmental Stability of Influenza Virus Particles: Does Variation in Lipid Content Explain Host Shift Events?"
This pilot project proposes to explore the role of the viral lipid membrane in viral environmental stability, with particular focus on how stability may be critical in defining the ecology and evolution of influenza infection in natural reservoirs and potential transmission to novel hosts, such as humans.

In addition, one Translational Pilot Project was funded this round.

(1) Jacquin C. Niles
Assistant Professor
Biological Engineering

Bogdan Fedeles
Senior Postdoctoral Associate*
Biological Engineering

"Characterizing Oxidative DNA Damage and Repair in Plasmodium falciparum"
The goal of this proposal is to initiate a systematic analysis of the parasite-based mechanisms contributing to this important human health problem.

The MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences, through support from the NIH-NIEHS Center Grant P30-ES002109, has awarded two translational pilot projects with a start date of December 1, 2013 as a result of a special pilot project call geared towards junior investigators.
The two funded translational applications are:

(1) Jesse Kroll
Associate Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering

Eben Cross
Research Scientist*
Civil and Environmental Engineering

“Laboratory Characterization of the Composition and Variability of Solid Biofuel Combustion Emissions”
The goal of this proposed work is to better understand the emissions from solid biofuel combustion, by the detailed examination of both the composition and the variability of emissions under a given set of combustion conditions (as a function of fuel type, cookstove design, and other key operational parameters).

(2) Elizabeth Nolan
Assistant Professor

Nickel Allergy and Proinflammatory Proteins"
The goal of this pilot research initiative is to evaluate a putative role for the proinflammatory proteins calprotectin (CP, S100A8/S100A9) and psoriasin (S100A7) in contact hypersensitivity to nickel, a metal ion that is a component of many consumer products and causes skin allergy in humans.

All Funded Pilot Projects

Contact Information

For information on the CEHS Pilot Project Program contact:

Amanda Tat
Administrative Officer
MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences