Overview of the STAR Awards
The NIAMS STAR program provides supplemental funding for early-career stage investigators who have renewed their first NIAMS-funded R01 grant. The supplement enables these scientists to pursue innovative and high-risk research within the broader scope of a current NIAMS-funded, peer-reviewed research project. It also helps investigators to expand a single, structured research project into a broader multi-faceted research program. In FY 2021, two investigators received NIAMS STAR supplements.
Erika Geisbrecht, Ph.D., is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Kansas State University. She leads an NIAMS-supported research project using the Drosophila model to determine mechanisms that prevent protein aggregation, and ultimately cellular degeneration, in muscle. The findings will provide insight into how protein aggregates can be cleared effectively to reduce disease states and offer an opportunity to eventually develop successful therapeutic strategies to maintain healthy cells. The STAR award funding will support her team’s effort to expand the knowledge about how protein complexes that mediate protein clearance are also possible regulators of sarcomere (the functional unit of a muscle fiber) remodeling.
Corey Neu, Ph.D., is the Donnelly Family Endowed Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He leads an NIAMS-funded research project to establish a noninvasive imaging method of measuring cartilage strain to predict osteoarthritis development. Previous findings suggested that the novel imaging method specifically quantified cartilage tissue-level strain and structure. The STAR award will enable Dr. Neu’s team to explore high-risk studies developing new imaging biomarkers of cellular and nuclear structure. This knowledge may provide tissue- to cellular-scale prognostic factors for osteoarthritis, ultimately leading to diagnosis at the earliest stages when disease-rectifying therapies may be most effective.
For more information about the NIAMS STAR program, including the funding opportunity announcement and profiles of past award recipients, visit the Supplements to Advance Research (STAR) page on the NIAMS website. Additional background information is provided in the December 2014 letter from the NIAMS Director announcing the program.
To view profiles for the 2015 STAR awardees, visit the 2015 announcement for the STAR program.
To view profiles for the 2016 STAR awardees, visit the 2016 announcement for the STAR program.
To view profiles for the 2017 STAR awardees, visit the 2017 announcement for the STAR program.
To view profiles for the 2018 STAR awardees, visit the 2018 announcement for the STAR program.
To view profiles for the 2019 STAR awardees, visit the 2019 announcement for the STAR program.
To view profiles for the 2020 STAR awardees, visit the 2020 announcement for the STAR program.
For more information, please see the STAR funding opportunity announcement and the December 2014 letter from the NIAMS Director announcing the program.