The Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in partnership with ALS Finding a Cure® (ALSFAC) and FightMND is issuing a request for applications for the ALS Scholars in Therapeutics Program to empower young investigators to learn how to develop new treatments for people living with ALS.
This two-year program is designed to engage clinician-scientists and post-doctoral fellows to gain training and experience in therapy development for ALS at their home institution with an optional industry experience in year two. All ALS Scholars will be part of the broader ALS global community. We believe strongly in identifying, supporting, and mentoring the next generation of researchers and are continuing this tradition through the ALS Scholars in Therapeutics Program.
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ALS Scholars will be an integral member of the Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Mass General and will benefit from mentorship by world renowned scientists and clinicians. While working closely with their mentors at their home institution, the Scholars will also attend Healey Center and ALSFAC meetings and learn first-hand current approaches to therapy development. Importantly, Scholars will have the opportunity to engage directly with people living with ALS. In addition, successful candidates interested in understanding the drug development process from an industry perspective, will benefit from an optional six-month internship in industry during the second year of their scholarship.
Applications from clinician scientists and postdoctoral fellows focused on translational research will be considered. Example areas of research include but are not limited to:
- Biomarkers Studies: Scholars focused on the discovery and development of novel biomarkers of disease. Individuals focused in this area will benefit from available biorepositories to further their discovery work in identifying novel biomarkers or to validate established biomarkers.
- Genetic Studies: Scholars focused on identifying novel causative genes or disease modifiers. Individuals focused on validating newly identified genetic variants and their relevance to disease processes for developing new therapies.
- Drug Development: Scholars working in all phases of drug development from target identification to IND-enabling studies. Examples include the development of novel model systems for screening and identifying new compounds.
- Clinical Trials: Scholars engaged in clinical trial design for ALS. Individuals working closely with the Healey Center and participating in the Platform Trials will also be considered.
- 2 years of funding to support a clinician-scientist or post-doctoral fellow working in the ALS field anywhere in the world.
- $150,000 USD award/funding year (inclusive of maximum 15% indirect costs)
- Recipient must commit at least 75% effort to the proposed ALS research plan
- Applications from clinician scientists and postdoctoral fellows focused on translational research.
- Candidates with PhD or MD with a strong publication record. International applicants are encouraged to apply.
- The ALS-focused proposal must have a strong scientific rationale and should be largely developed by the candidate with guidance from his/her mentor.
- Eligibility for this award is based on the date the candidate attained their degree/ qualification. For MDs, scholars will be considered if they have completed their specialist qualification (i.e., US Residency; Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, etc.) For PhDs they can be no more than 5 years post- degree.
The ALS Scholars in Therapeutics will be awarded $150,000 USD per year (inclusive of direct and maximum 15% indirect costs) for a maximum of 2 years. These funds can be used for salary support, personnel, and/or supplies relevant to the outlined project. Year one funds will be provided by the Healey & AMG Center philanthropic fund. Year two may be funded by an industry partner, contingent on matching the Scholar with company.
Full application will require the following:
- Administrative information: signatures from the applicant and organization acknowledging the terms and conditions of the award
- Scientific abstract: (300-word maximum) and lay description (150-word maximum)
- Research Proposal: focused on a translational effort in the ALS field (5-page maximum not including references) must include specific aims, significance, innovation, experimental plan
- Timeline & Milestones
- Career plan: outline of applicant’s training plans and career goals (one page maximum)
- List of other funding sources for the applicant
- Two letters of reference: One letter must be from primary mentor
- NIH-style biographical sketch for the applicant and mentor
- Budget (in $USD) and budget justification: including key personnel
Applications are be reviewed and scored based on the following five criteria:
- Candidate: Strong publication track record, evidence of independent thinking, and a creative approach to problem solving. For clinicians, applicants should demonstrate capabilities as a clinician scientist based on prior achievements.
- Mentor: Ideally a principal investigator committed and actively working within ALS or related field.
- Project Feasibility: While preliminary data is not essential for the application, sufficient supporting data for the proposed aims is required to ensure that the project is feasible and can be completed within the two-year time frame.
- Scientific Rigor and Reproducibility: The research proposed must be well thought through, include details of experimental design, blinding, power calculations and approaches to promote reproducibility including validation of key reagents. In addition, the applicant should state how they will share their findings, data, reagents with the scientific community.
- Research Environment: Quality and nature of training provided by mentor as well as institutional support.
The ALS Scholars will submit semi-annual financial and scientific progress reports to the Healey & AMG Center who will share with funding partners. The ALS Scholars will also attend and present their findings at one of the semi-annual Healey & AMG Science Advisory Council and ALSFAC meetings during the funding period.
Application Due Dates
Release of RFA: March 2, 2022
Applications Due: April 29, 2022
Notification of Award: June 2022
Initiation of Award: July 1, 2022 (flexible once contracts signed)
For further information, please contact HealeyCenterforALS@mgh.harvard.edu.