Available Grants


    2019 Grants Extramural Funding


    CIHD Pilot and Feasibility Program Grant Awards





    Available Grants

    The Center for Iron and Heme Disorders (CIHD) will fund 4 mini-grants in 2020. Proposals are due June 15, 2020 with awards announced in mid-July.

    Funds for these Pilot and Feasibility grants are from the NIH NIDDK Institute. The awards will be a maximum of $25,000. The grants will be awarded competitively and are designed to support research projects from internal and external CIHD members that utilize our CIHD Cores and advance the mission of our program; non-malignant hematology with an emphasis on iron, heme and hematopoiesis. The goals of the CIHD are to support research on molecular/cellular biological pathways involved in normal hematopoietic stem cell biology, erythroid differentiation and disease states in addition to iron and heme biology.  Our intent is also to: 1) support junior faculty members or established investigators launching new research directions that meet our mission objectives; 2) support CIHD members engaged in collaborative research projects with other CIHD members or investigators outside of the CIHD.

    Applicant Eligibility

    Applicants must be members of the CIHD (information on application can be found on our website;  One proposal per applicant will be accepted in each year. A Principal Investigator (PI) must be a tenure track or research track faculty with an appointment of at least 0.75 FTE. Research faculty must have had a two-year residency at their institution prior to funding applications. Proposals that have previously been submitted to an extramural agency and found to be non-competitive will not be reviewed. One exception to this restriction is proposals previously submitted to an extramural agency that were declined on the basis of insufficient preliminary data. In that case, an executive summary statement specifically stating this deficiency should be submitted along with the application. All successful applicants for funding will be asked to present an update of their research at an annual CIHD fall symposium.

    Proposal Submission (web site:

    Proposals will be limited to three pages of narrative on significance, background and proposed studies. All proposals will require in addition a statement of relevance of the proposed project to our CIHD mission objectives, a description of the CIHD cores to be utilized, NIH-style biosketches including current and pending support, a proposed budget and justification page and a page describing plans to submit proposals to NIDDK for extramural support.

    Checklist for submissison

    1. Abstract: 1 separate page
    2. 3 pages of project description: significance, background and proposed studies
    3. Statement of relevance to our CIHD
    4. Description of CIHD cores to be utilized
    5. NIH-style biosketch
    6. Current and pending support
    7. Proposed budget and justification ($25,000 maximal budget)
    8. NIH grant submission plans

    Applications should be submitted as pdf files to and

    Proposal Evaluations

    Proposals will be reviewed by an external email review committee consisting of three senior scientists at other universities. The group will each address the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal and rank the merits of the various proposals. Confidentiality of this process will be stressed to all reviewers. This group will rank the submitted proposals and make a recommendation for funding to the CIHD Internal Advisory Committee. The selected proposals will be submitted to the NIDDK CIHD Steering Committee for approval.

    The review criteria used to evaluate submitted proposals will include:

    1. a) Does the proposal have high scientific merit and potential impact?
    2. b) Does the proposed work have high potential to leverage extramural funding?
    3. c) Does the project meet the CIHD mission objectives stated on our web page and in the publicized funding opportunity?
    4. d) Does the project build or strengthen cross-disciplinary collaborative efforts? Not all projects need to build collaborative partnerships, but this is a desired goal of the CCIHD Pilot and Feasibility Program.
    5. e) Is the applicant an early-stage investigator or a senior investigator with a major new research direction?

    For additional information and questions, please contact:

    Contact: Dennis Winge

    Location: University of Utah Health Sciences Center SOM, 5C426

    Contact phone: 801-585-5103

    Contact e-mail:


    Apply for the BIOIRON Training Award!

    The international BioIron Society offers training awards to provide an opportunity for talented early career researchers to undertake laboratory-based research for any length of time up to 6 months within a host institution abroad.
    Entry Requirements
    • Applicants should be at an early stage in their research career and no more than 6 years beyond the completion of their PhD
    • Applicants must be members of the BIOIRON society APPLY TODAY

    The Award Includes
    • Travel and accommodation expenses commensurate with the proposed length of stay, and up to €5000, subject to justification
    • Waiver of registration fees for the BioIron Meeting following completion of their training period.

    Application Process
    • Applications are considered twice a year. The next deadline for submission of applications is March 30, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.
    • Please send completed applications to by March 30, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.
    • Applicants must complete the application form providing detailed justification for:
    • a) Why their chosen research cannot be completed within their current institution
    • b) How this award will advance their research
    • Applicants must also provide separate supporting letters from their current and prospective supervisors
    • Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the application within 1 month of the submission deadline, and awards may be taken up 1-6 months after receipt of offer letter

    Award Conditions
    • Awardees must submit a written report, 2-3 pages long (Arial 12, single space) detailing the outcomes of their research within 1 month of the end of the award
    • Awardees must acknowledge BioIron Society in published material ensuing from the work supported by the award
    • Awardees are expected to give an oral presentation detailing the outcomes of their work at the BioIron meeting following the completion of their award

    International BioIron Society | 847•517•7225 |

    2019 Grants Extramural Funding

    Matthew F. Barber, PhD, University of Oregon:
    Recently awarded an NIH R35 MIRA award in which he included CIHD-sponsored work in his application. Here is the grant info:
    NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (R35GM133652) 2019 – 2024
    National Institutes of Health (NIGMS)
    Title: Molecular mechanisms of evolution at the host-microbe interface

    Paul Sigala, PhD, University of Utah:
    Received a 5-year R35 MIRA (1R35GM133764) from NIGMS based on last year’s PF award, entitled “Comparative Heme Metabolism in Divergent Eukaryotes”, that featured preliminary data obtained during out CIHD Pilot Grant period.

    Amy Medlock, PhD, University of Georgia
    Awarded a SHINE grant 2018
    R01 DK111653 Title: Identifying the function of the mitochondrial heme biosynthesis complex in erythropoiesis

    Adam Hughes, Ph.D. University of Utah
    Awarded R01 2019
    R01 AG061376 Title: The role of the lysosome in aging

    Diane Ward and June Round – University of Utah Immunity, Inflammation, Infection P&F grant: The effects of low iron diet on gut immunity and the development of Fatty Liver Disease 01/2019-12/31/2019.

    Dennis Winge and Jared Rutter: National Institutes of Health RO1 GM110755-05. Mitochondrial Fatty Acid Synthesis and the Coordinate Regulation of Respiration.  Funded 9/20/2018-8/31/2022


    CIHD Pilot and Feasibility Program Grant Awards

    CIHD Pilot and Feasibility Program Grant Awards 2019-20

    Ryan O’Connell, PhD:  The role of Rab27a/b during mitochondria release from maturing erythroblasts.
    Paul Sigala, PhD: Mechanism of Iron Acquisition by Malaria Parasites 3.
    Diane Ward, PhD:  The role of the reductases Lcytb and Steap3 in lysosomal iron recycling in macrophages
    Richard Eisenstein, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison: Iron regulation of erythropoiein expression
    Amy Medlock, PhD and Amit Reddi, PhD, University of Georgia:  Creation of Transgenic Zebrafish with Hepatic and Erythroid Expressed Heme Sensors
    Yvette Yien, PhD, University of Delaware:  Regulation of erythroid heme synthesis and vertebrate development by the mitochondrial unfoldase, CLPX


    CIHD Pilot and Feasibility Program Grant Awards 2018-19

    Dean Tantin, Tracey Lamb Tantin, Associate Professor. Does Oct1 loss-of-function in bone marrow progenitor cells exacerbate the severity of malarial anemia?

    Oleh Khalimonchuk, Amit Reddi. co-investigator Assoc Prof, University of Nebraska, Department of Biochemistry Mitochondrial Behavior and Heme Transport in Erythropoiesis

    Betty Leibold. Professor, University of Utah. Cell-Cycle Regulation of IRP2 Phosphorylation during Hematopoiesis

    Amy Medlock, Amit Reddi. co-investigator Assoc Prof, University of Georgia. Creation of Transgenic Zebrafish with Erythroid Expressed Heme Sensors

    Ryan O’Connell. Assoc Prof University of Utah Dept of Pathology. Determine the role of Rab27a/b during mitochondria release from maturing erythroblasts

    Joe Prchal. Professor, University of Utah. Search for Novel Parameters of Augmentation of Erythropoiesis. Deciphering Molecular Differences of VHL Mutated Congenital

    Polycythemia versus Tumor-Predisposition

    Paul Sigala. Assistant Professor, University of Utah. Structure and Function of a Divergent Eukaryotic Cytochrome c

    Diane Ward. Research Associate Professor, University of Utah. The role of Abcb10 in red cell hemoglobinization


    CIHD Pilot and Feasibility Program Grant Awards 2017-18

    Congratulations to the the following five investigators whose proposals were funded in the CIHD 2017 Pilot and Feasibility Grants Program:

    Matthew Barber: Host-pathogen conflicts shaping bloodstream hemeprotein evolution

    Adam Hughes: The role of lysosomes in maintenance of cellular iron metabolism

    Elizabeth Leibold: Cell-cycle regulation of IRP2 phosphorylation during hematopoiesis

    Paul Sigala: Role of Acyl Carrier Protein in Iron/Sulfur Cluster Biogenesis by Malaria Parasites

    Diane Ward: The role of Abcb10 in red cell hemoglobinization


    Utah CIHD Pilot and Feasibility Grant Awards for 2016-17

    Our NIDDK-funded Center for Iron and Hematology Disorders has awarded three pilot research grants for the 2016/2017 fiscal year. Six proposals were considered for funding and the three successful applicants include the following:

    Dr. Paul Sigala, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Utah

    Dr. Sigala will focus on the role of the acyl-carrier proteins present in the mitochondria and apicoplast of Plasmodium in iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis in the two organelles and the role of each pathway in the physiology of Plasmodium parasites. A long-term goal of his research is developing new therapeutic targets in treating malaria.

    Dr. Amy Medlock, Assistant Professor, University of Georgia

    Dr. Medlock is addressing the role of two novel proteins PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 in modulating heme synthesis in mammalian cells. She demonstrated that these proteins interact with ferrochelatase and regulate its activity. She proposes to generate knockout cell lines in culture and zebrafish to investigate the physiological consequences of loss of these proteins on heme production.

    Dr. Matt Barber, Assistant Professor, University of Oregon

    Dr. Barber is focused on the evolutionary battle between pathogens and primate hosts for access to iron and heme. He will address how primates evolved in response to iron and heme piracy by pathogenic bacteria. In his proposed studies, Dr. Barber will focus on phylogenetic analyses of hemoglobin and hemeopexin.



    Current predoctoral trainees

    Alexandria Van Scoyk, BS, Departments of Oncological Sciences and Medicine

    The role of SIRT5 in hematopoiesis
    Preceptor: Michael Deininger, MD, PhD

    Tanya Espino, BS, Department of Biochemistry
    Mechanism of cytochrome c maturation and function in mitochondrial respiration
    Preceptor: Paul Sigala, PhD

    Lucas Bush, BS, Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Controlling cues that drive differentiation of platelets from a hematopoietic precursor
    Preceptor: Tara Deans, PhD

    Amanda Mixon, BS, Department of Biochemistry

    Heme-dependent regulation of organelle gene expression in blood-stage malaria parasites
    Preceptor: Paul Sigala, PhD

    Casey Hughes, BS, Department of  Biochemistry

    Iron homeostasis disruption by elevated levels of cytoplasmic amino acids
    Preceptor: Adam Hughes, PhD


    Current postdoctoral fellows

    Melissa Ilardo, PhD, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Molecular Medicine
    A functional genomics investigation of hypoxia tolerance adaptation in Bajau Sea Nomads
    Preceptor: Elizabeth Leibold, PhD

    Daniel Fuja, PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
    Coordinated regulation of oxygen-sensing and iron-sulfur cluster assembly pathways
    Preceptor: Mei Koh, PhD

    Kevin Hicks, PhD, Department of Biochemistry
    Systematic discovery of protein-metabolite interactions that control heme biosynthesis
    Preceptor: Jared Rutter, PhD


    Past predoctoral trainees  

    David McClellan, BS, Department of Oncological Sciences
    GFI1B splice variants in megakaryocyte and erythrocyte differentiation
    Preceptor: Michael Engel, MD, PhD

    Mattie Casey, BS, Department of Oncological Sciences
    GFI1B SNAG domain methylation in megakaryocyte-erythrocyte lineage allocation
    Preceptor: Michael Engel, MD, PhD

    Megan Okada, BS, Department of Biochemistry
    Unraveling organelle function in blood-stage malaria parasites
    Preceptor: Paul Sigala, PhD

    Jared Wallace, BS, Department of Pathology
    Investigating the role of mir-155 and the interferon response in the hematopoietic stem cell compartment during inflammatory hematopoiesis
    Preceptor: Ryan O’Connell, PhD

    Past postdoctoral fellows

    Eric Kyle Fredrickson, PhD, Department of Biochemistry
    Mechanisms of mitochondrial protein quality control and iron sulfur cluster biogenesis
    Preceptor: Jared Rutter, PhD

    Christopher Ours, MD,  Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
    A novel mutation identified in a patient with severe congenital neutropenia suggests a
    connection between Aurora A kinase and GFI1-directed hematopoietic lineage allocation
    Preceptor: Michael Engel, MD, PhD

    Radhika Gangaraju, MD, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology
    Role of hypoxia sensing pathways and inflammation in disorders of increased erythropoiesis
    Preceptor: Josef Prchal, MD