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Think, Collaborate & Do

Interdisciplinary Research Funding

CMI Ideation Event

Networking and funding opportunities available to faculty, graduate students & postdocs, with supplements for research commercialization. Huge thanks to our partners the Kenan Institute for Engineering Technology and Science (KIETS) the Genetic and Genomics Academy (GGA), and the College of Veterinary Medicine for contributing additional funds for this event.

Each year, the CMI holds the “Think, Collaborate & Do” Ideation event. This event invites faculty, graduate students and postdocs from all departments and colleges who have an interest in human and animal health to display a research summary poster that will allow them to make connections with potential collaborators they wouldn’t otherwise have met. They then form groups to come up with big, bold, new ideas that become research proposals for the Ideation Awards.

2023-2024 Faculty Awards:

  • Development of zebrafish mast cell reporter lines to enhance the in vivo studies of mast cells in neurobiology, infection, and immunity. PIs: Natalia Duque-Wilkens (COS), Kurt Marsden (COS), Jeffrey Yoder (CVM). Funded by CMI, KIETS, & GGA.
  • TRAP-dexamethazone as a treatment of equine asthma. PIs: Katie Sheats (CVM) & Katarzyna Dembek (CVM). Funded by CMI & KIETS.
  • Using metalloenzymes to enable targeted C-C and C-N bond formation for valuable molecules preparation. PIs: Wei-Chen Chang (COS), Thomas Makris (CALS). Funded by CMI & KIETS.
  • In vitro analysis of a novel extracorporeal device for cytokine removal in equine sepsis and effects on immune function. PIs: Kallie Hobbs (CVM), Katie Sheats (CVM), Yu Ueda (CVM). Funded by CMI & KIETS.
  • Curbing Pathogen Transmission: Unleashing the Potential of a Biodegradable Photosensitizing Polymer. PIs: Tova Williams (WCOT), Chris Gorman (COS), Reza Ghiladi (COS). Funded by CMI & KIETS.
  • Strain Effects on Proteolysis of Extracellular Matrix in Biological Tissues. PIs: Shadow Huang (COE), Aaron Bell (COE). Funded by CMI & KIETS.
  • LGR5+ progenitor cells in cardiac development and regeneration. PIs: Jessica Gluck (WCOT), Ke Huang (CVM), Jorge Piedrahita (CVM). Funded by CMI & KIETS.

2023-2024 Student Awards

  • Nanotechnology-mediated Detection of Steroid Hormones in Serum to Study Female Reproductive Health. PIs: Hannah Dewey (WCOT), Jacob Thompson (COE). Funded by CMI & KIETS.
  • Biodegradable composite scaffolds for high-efficiency cellular transduction and CAR T cell synthesis. PIs: Christopher Moody (COE), Mengnan Dennis (WCOT). Funded by CMI & KIETS, with a CMI supplement for entrepreneurship.
  • Mathematical understanding of the underlying physical phenomena in viral cellular transduction. PIs: Micah Mallory (COE), Vishal Srikanth (COE). Funded by CMI & KIETS.
  • Cultivation of equine bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells with fibrin-based nanoparticle scaffolds. PIs: Shannon Connard (CVM), Sanika Pandit (COE). Funded by CMI & KIETS.

A big thank you to all who make these awards possible, including those who provided additional support in 2023-2024: CMI’s CATALYZE program, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science, and the Genetics & Genomics Academy.

We invite you to join us for this exciting event to be held on

Friday, May 12th, 2023

12:00-5:00 p.m.

McKimmon Conference & Training Center

Must have a research summary poster to attend. Free poster printing offered to the first 20 graduate students and postdocs to sign up via the above registration form.

Posters should be 24×36″ with a portrait orientation. Please also include a photo of yourself so that others can recognize you at the event. Templates available at the link above. Please note that these templates are only examples. Use whichever template fits your research best, and feel free to modify as appropriate.

Proposal Details:

Proposals are due June 26, 2023, via the form linked below. Proposal formats are also available below. If you have any additional questions, contact Sarah O’Connor at

“Think, Collaborate & Do” Agenda:

  • 12-12:40 Lunch & Poster Setup
  • 12:40-1:00 Opening Remarks & Setting the Stage
  • 1:00-2:30 Learn & Mingle
  • 2:30-3:00 Keynote Speaker–Michael Lairmore, Former Dean, UC Davis
  • 3:00-3:30 Breakout Session with Michael Lairmore (must indicate RSVP on registration form)
  • 3:00-3:30 Coffee Break
  • 3:30- 4:30 Ideate & Consolidate
  • 4:30-5:00 Finalize, Q&A

About Keynote Speaker Dr. Michael Lairmore

Dr. Lairmore has extensive experience in building NIH research centers (P30/P50) and program projects grants (P01). He will share his insights into how to conceptualize, build, and write a successful proposal.

Michael D. Lairmore, DVM, PhD is past dean of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, where he helped create new clinical trials infrastructure, student services, research, global health, and diversity programs, and promoted a culture of philanthropy, communications, and innovation. One of the few veterinarians elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine, he is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.  He has authored or co-authored 190 scientific publications and has provided significant breakthroughs in the biology of human retroviral-associated carcinogenesis.

Dean Michael Lairmore at the University of California school of Veterinary Medicine. Photo by Don Preisler/UCDavis © 2021 UC Regents

Not sure what an Ideation event is? Here’s how it works:

Register to attend:Submit your research summary poster
Preview others’ posters electronically.
Learn & Mingle:Posters will be displayed unattended in two shifts to allow browsing
Leave your contact info for those you’d like to meet.
Ideate & Consolidate:Join groups and exchange ideas.
Finalize your ideas:Plan follow-up meetings & write your proposal


Still have questions about “Think, Collaborate & Do?” View the info session recording below ( email required).

Other Funding Opportunities:

  • Research Focus Area-specific opportunities: These seed grants vary year-to-year and are at the discretion of each area’s Associate Directors. Join the CMI & your preferred focus area to be notified when these awards are announced.
  • Young Scholar Program (YSP) / Summer Interdisciplinary Research Initiative (SIRI) awards: Annually each fall semester. Graduate students & postdocs create interdisciplinary projects and select undergraduate students as lab assistants mentees. Details here & here.
  • CATALYZE Entrepreneurship & Commercialization opportunities: Visit the Entrepreneurship page to learn more about the CATALYZE startup pitch contest, the Business and Medicine (BaM) program, and more.