by Eleanor Young, Research Associate
As part of its mission to eliminate the challenges of hydrocephalus, the Hydrocephalus Association (HA) launched a Research Initiative in 2009 to fund grants to support worthy, innovative and relevant research. The Initiative aims to fund research that improve the quality of life for people living with hydrocephalus and finds ways to prevent or cure hydrocephalus.
In 2009, the first year of this exciting new program, HA focused research funding on a Mentored Young Investigator Award (MYI) program. The MYI Award program has the dual purpose of funding promising research relevant to hydrocephalus while fostering the development of young researchers. This approach is intended to address the shortage of hydrocephalus-focused researchers while supporting seasoned investigators who serve as the mentors to the young investigators. The subject matter of the grants is not limited as one of our goals is to discover and support innovative thinking. HA accepted 16 applications for the first cycle of its MYI Awards. Five projects were funded and are underway at institutions all around the country. Each of the five grants was funded for $55,000 for a initial period of one year, with a second year of funding also at $55,000 each. The projects funded spanned a variety of topics, including exploring the role the vascular system plays in hydrocephalus with an eye toward possible drug treatment, researching the timing of drainage procedures in infants with hydrocephalus, looking at the effect of certain drug treatments in chronic adult hydrocephalus, exploring whether there is a critical time during fetal brain development during which bleeding in the brain is more likely to cause hydrocephalus, and improving diagnosis techniques for normal pressure hydrocephalus.
For the 2010 cycle, the HA accepted 14 applications for the MYI award. The applications are currently under review by a panel of 20 distinguished experts. The applications include both clinical and bench science projects focused on a wide range of cutting edge topics in adult and pediatric hydrocephalus. Each application is evaluated by the HA Scientific and Medical Review Committee (SMRC) based upon the following criteria: Mentor and Training Environment; Likelihood that the Proposed Project will Advance Hydrocephalus Treatment/Cure; Scientific Merit of the Research Proposal; and Applicant Training and Career Potential. We expect to announce selections for the 2010 MYI awards in December of 2010.