The Institute of Structural Biology (ISB) is announcing an annual Pilot Grant Program in the general area of Structural Biology. The goal of the ISB Pilot Grant Program is to facilitate collaborative research between groups that cross disciplines and draw on advances in Structural Biology techniques. The ISB Pilot Grant Program aims to increase appreciation for structural biology in fundamental and translational biomedical science, and to grow a community of users of these technologies on UPenn campus through its shared Core facilities.

The grant requires interdisciplinary and synergistic scientific endeavors between at least two investigators. For example, favored projects could include structure determination of an important biological target, and use of one or more of the ISB relevant core facilities listed below:

ISB relevant Core Facilities

  • Johnson Foundation Biophysical and Structural Biology – provides resources for biophysical analysis of protein-small molecule interactions and X-ray crystallography.
  • Electron Microscopy Resource Laboratory – provides resources and access to cryo-EM technology for structure determination of macromolecular complexes with small molecule modulators.
  • UPenn NMR facilities
  • Protein Production Core

Important Dates

  • Submission deadline for full applications: December 15, 2023
  • Award decisions will be made by January 1, 2024
  • Award period will be from February 1st 2024 – January 31st, 2025


The maximum award for the Pilot Project Grant will be $50,000 per year, with possibility of extending the award for second year.

Investigator Eligibility

At least one of the investigators on the application must be a member of the Institute of Structural Biology Faculty.

It is required that the proposed research is not funded through an existing or prior grant, either federal or foundation. The proposed research should be specifically distinguished from Aims in any related funding.

Full Application Instructions

  • Cover Page: Title of Project, Name of Applicants, Abstract (up to 250 words)
  • Research Proposal: (Aims, Significance and Innovation, Preliminary Results and Experimental Design). Limited to two pages including all preliminary data (excluding references; references can be on additional pages).
  • Applicants should include an additional half page section devoted to explaining how pilot funds will enable a strong, competitive application to a larger funding mechanism (e.g. multi-investigator NIH application)
  • NIH Biographical Sketch for each investigator
  • NIH other support page for each investigator
  • Budget and justification: one year, up to a maximum of $50,000; one page only
  • Application should be submitted to Camila Anderson ( as a single pdf file by December 15th, 2023.

Post Award Requirements

  • Awardees are required to inform the ISB if the pilot project receives external funding during the project period.
  • Awardees must acknowledge the ISB in all scientific posters, presentations, and publications using the specific language listed below:
  • “This research was supported by a pilot award from the Institute of Structural Biology at the University of Pennsylvania.”
  • Awardees will give a presentation on progress on the pilot award at the 2025 ISB symposium.
  • A final progress report is due one month after the close of the project period. The one-page report will contain a synopsis of scientific progress, a list of resulting collaborations, publications, and grants, and a description of the relationship of the project to Core usage.


For additional information, please contact:

Vera Moiseenkova-Bell (

Yi-Wei Chang (