January 2017

New Mandatory Requirement for all NIH Grants submitted as of 1/25/2017

NIH requires a Data Sharing plan for all application types listed below. Investigators should include a description of how final research data will be shared, or explain why data sharing is not possible. The precise content and level of detail to include in a data sharing plan depends on several factors, such as whether or not the PI is planning to share data, the size and complexity of the dataset, etc.

As of August 27, 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has also announced its final Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) Policy. This policy is designed to promote sharing, for research purposes, of large-scale human and non-human genomic data generated from NIH-funded research. A template of what you need to include can be found at http://research.stonybrook.edu/forms/genomic-data-sharing-plan-template.

All NIH Research (R) & Program (P) Grants, Cooperative Agreements (U), Individual career Development (K) (with the exception of K12 awards) and all other proposals including S (equipment) awards that have research components, will need to include a Data Sharing plan to be submitted by OSP. This plan should include how genomic human and non-human data, animal material and unique data that is not readily replicated, will be shared.

NIH policy has in some instances attached a dollar value threshold for when data sharing plans are needed, but more often than not and specifically with Genomic data, this threshold is being waived.
To make sure that Data Sharing plans are included when they are needed for all submissions for proposals due on or after January 25, 2017, it will be necessary to include a Data Sharing plan within the application. If you feel that a Data Sharing plan does not pertain to your project, please upload the attachment in the space provided on the application with the explanation of why your project should be exempt from this requirement.

Also, please note that this policy also applies to research that will be sharing or using data accessed from NIH-supported repositories.
Investigators with questions about whether the Policy applies to their proposed research should consult the relevant Program Official or Program Officer or the IC’s Genomic Program Administrator (GPA). Names and contact information for GPAs are available through the NIH GDS website.


SoMAS’ Ellen Pikitch Part of Team Studying Marine Fisheries Reform in China

Professor Ellen Pikitch, executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, is part of a research team led by Stanford University, that published its perspective piece, “Opportunity for Marine Fisheries Reform in China,” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

As global fish stocks continue to decline, this study found that China’s most recent fisheries conservation plan can achieve a real shift in marine fisheries management, but only if the Chinese government embraces major institutional reform.

The researchers examined the history of Chinese government priorities, policies and outcomes related to marine fisheries since the country’s 1978 Economic Reform and examined how its leaders’ agenda for “ecological civilization” could successfully transform marine resource management in the coming years.

They found that while China has attempted to reverse the trend of declining fish stocks in the past, serious institutional reforms are needed to achieve a true shift in marine fisheries management. The authors recommend new institutions for science-based fisheries management, secure fishing access, policy consistency across provinces, educational programs for fisheries managers, and increasing public access to scientific data.

As China accounts for almost one-fifth of global catch volume, it has made great efforts to carry out conservation and management of fisheries resources by adopting and practicing various measures during the last three decades. The government is introducing a series of new programs for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, with greater traceability and accountability in marine resource management and area controls on coastal development. The most recent plan notably includes marine ecosystem protection as a significant component of the central government’s environmental agenda.

Although the researchers view China’s efforts as a signal of dedication toward furthering fisheries conservation, they hope their paper helps highlight the need for true institutional reform in order to see the Chinese government’s goals realized.

Updates Coming to NSF Fastlane on January 30, 2017

On January 30, 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will release updates to FastLane that may impact the way you work. NSF will implement the following changes in FastLane to support the policy updates in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1) and to run new and enhanced automated compliance checks on proposals:
Proposal Submission

• Two new types of proposals will be incorporated into the PAPPG with new required supporting documents and automated proposal compliance checks.

o Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI): GOALI is a type of proposal that seeks to stimulate collaboration between academic research institutions and industry. The new GOALI automated compliance checks will
require hat at least one Co-Principal Investigator (PI) exists on the proposal and the “GOALI-Industrial PI Confirmation Letter” is uploaded at the time of proposal submission. All automated compliance checks applicable to Research proposals
will apply to GOALI proposals. GOALI proposals were previously submitted via a program solicitation.

o Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE): The RAISE proposal type supports bold, interdisciplinary projects. The new RAISE automated compliance checks will require that a “RAISE-Program Officer
Concurrence Email” is uploaded at the time of proposal submission, the proposal award budget is less than or equal to $1 million, and the proposal duration is less than or equal to 5 years. All automated compliance checks applicable to
Research proposals will apply to RAISE proposals.

• The Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) type of proposal will be included on the FastLane dropdown menu. All automated compliance checks applicable to Research proposals will apply to FASED proposals.

Deadline Submission

• Organizations that are unable to submit a proposal prior to a deadline due to a natural or anthropogenic disaster will be required to submit a new Single Copy Document, “Nature of Natural or Anthropogenic Event,” when attempting to submit a late proposal using the “Special Exception to the Deadline Date Policy” box on the NSF Cover Sheet.

Updated References and Terminology

• The PAPPG (NSF 17-1) has been modified in its entirety, to remove all references to theGrant Proposal Guide (GPG) and Award & Administration Guide (AAG). The document will now be referred to solely as the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide and is sequentially numbered from Chapter I-XII. All system references and links to the GPG and AAG will be updated to corresponding references and links in the PAPPG (NSF 17-1).
• “International Travel” type of proposals will be renamed to “Travel” and will be expanded to include domestic and international travel.
• “Facility/Center” type of proposals will be renamed to “Center/Research Infrastructure.”

Enhanced Automated Compliance Checks

• In addition to the new compliance checks for the GOALI, RAISE, and FASED types of proposals, FastLane will run enhanced automated compliance checks across several proposal types and will generate errors or warnings when the submission or deadline validation compliance checks are not met.
• Checks are run during “Check Proposal,” “Forward to SPO,” and “Submit Proposal.” The complete list of FastLane automated compliance checks effective January 30, 2017, is available here.

Note About Proposal File Update (PFU):

The automated compliance checks also apply when a PFU is performed on a proposal. The compliance checks will be run on all sections of the proposal, regardless of which section was updated during the PFU. Proposers should be aware that if a proposal was previously submitted successfully, a PFU performed on the proposal will be prevented from submission if the proposal does not comply with the compliance checks in effect at the time.

For system-related questions,please contact FastLane User Support at 1-800-673-6188 or fastlane@nsf.gov. Policy-related questions should be directed to policy@nsf.gov.


NIH Implementation of the Interim-RPPR while a Renewal Application is Under Consideration

Full details of this announcement can be found at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-17-037.html or by searching for NOT-OD-17-037

Effective February 9, 2017, if the recipient organization has submitted a renewal application on or before the date by which a Final Research Performance Progress Report (Final-RPPR) would be required for the current competitive segment, then submission of an "Interim-RPPR" via eRA Commons is now required. Based on this requirement, the NIH will discontinue the policy for renewal applications whereby, “whether funded or not,” the progress report contained in the renewal application may serve in lieu of a separate final progress report.

Like the Final-RPPR, recipients will be required to adhere to the new requirement to report on Project outcomes in the Interim-RPPR. This section will be made publicly available, thus allowing recipients to provide the general public with a concise summary of the cumulative outcomes or findings of the project (analogous to the Project Summary/Abstract section of the competing application) at the end of a competitive segment.

An Interim-RPPR link for the grant will appear in the Status tab in eRA Commons after the period of performance end date has passed. In the event that the renewal application is funded, NIH will treat the Interim-RPPR as the annual performance report for the final year of the previous competitive segment. If the renewal application is not funded, the Interim-RPPR will be treated by NIH staff as the institution's Final-RPPR.

As stated in NOT-OD-17-022, the Interim-RPPR must be submitted via the eRA Commons no later than 120 calendar days from the period of performance end date. If a recipient fails to comply with this reporting requirement, NIH may take one or more enforcement actions, such as a decision to withhold a non-competing continuation award, consistent with NIHGPS Chapter 8.5.2. NIH will maintain the business rule in the RPPR module enabling institutional signing officials (SOs), at their discretion, to delegate submission of the Final RPPR or Interim-RPPR to the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI).

Further guidance is provided through the scenarios below outlining the process of when to submit a Final or Interim-RPPR.

Scenario - Status of Competing Renewal Application
1. Competing Renewal not submitted -Submit a Final-RPPR no later than 120 calendar days from the period of performance end date.
2. Competing Renewal submitted - Submit an Interim-RPPR no later than 120 calendar days from the period of performance end date. If the competing renewal is funded, NIH will treat the Interim-RPPR as the annual performance report for the final year of the previous competitive segment.
3. Competing Renewal submitted but not funded -Submit an Interim-RPPR no later than 120 calendar days from the period of performance end date. If the competing renewal is not funded, NIH will treat the Interim-RPPR as the institution's Final-RPPR. To reduce burden NIH will not require recipients to submit an additional Final-RPPR if the renewal application is not funded.

Reminder: Effective January 2017, NIH requires recipients to report on Project Outcomes in Section I of the Interim and Final-RPPR. Therefore, in each scenario listed above, Project Outcomes must be provided by the recipient in order for the recipient to submit their final report in eRA Commons. Otherwise, eRA Commons will not allow recipients to submit the required report and recipients will be considered non-compliant.

Implementation of the Final RPPR for Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants will occur approximately 2 months after implementation for all other NIH grants due to unique final reporting requirements under the Small Business Administration's SBIR/STTR Policy Directive.


Discovery Prize Competition

To all Faculty, Students and Staff,
On February 9, 2017, please join us at the Wang Center as the four Stony Brook faculty finalists present their research for a chance to win the $200,000 Discovery Prize.
Established in 2013 with a generous donation from the Stony Brook Foundation Board of Trustees, the Discovery Prize was created to advance pioneering scientific breakthroughs at a time when the primary source of support for basic research (i.e., the federal government) is dwindling.
The $200,000 prize is awarded to a Stony Brook scholar in the STEM disciplines whose research project embraces risk and innovation and embodies the potential of discovery driven research—the catalysts for scientific advances.
This year’s finalists are:
Thomas Allison, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Department of Physics
Gabor Balazsi, PhD, Associate Professor, Laufer Center for Physical & Quantitative Biology and Department of Biomedical Engineering
Matthew Reuter, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, and Institute for Advanced Computational Science
Neelima Sehgal, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
I hope you will join us for this exciting occasion and celebration of discovery at Stony Brook.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
1:30 PM  Finalist Presentations followed by reception
4:30 PM  Winner Announced
Charles B. Wang Center Theater
Please click here to view your invitation.   

Creating a Sustainable Earth: Batteries Included

From cell phones, computers and cars to kids toys, remote controls and other utilities, batteries big and small can be found everywhere on Earth — including our landfills.

Esther Takeuchi, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, aims to curb that pollution with the following question: Is it possible to develop an energy storage system that can lead to a more sustainable Earth?

Takeuchi — who holds a joint appointment at Brookhaven National Lab and Stony Brook University, is credited with more than 150 U.S. patents and developed the battery technology that implanted cardiac defibrillators employ today — is directing a U.S. Department of Energy $10 million Energy Frontier Research Center award to drive her research in alternative battery systems that aren’t dangerous to the environment, but still boast high-energy, power and lifespan capabilities.

It’s this innovative research that Professor Takeuchi has pursued since her arrival on campus in 2012, and why she was recently named the inaugural William and Jane Knapp Chair in Energy and the Environment.

Alumna, donor and long-time friend of the University, Jane Knapp ’78 pointed out that to educate the next generation well, Stony Brook needs to attract great faculty members engaged in leading-edge research who will transfer that knowledge to students and peers. Offering endowed professorships and chairs attracts these top minds to Stony Brook. “Our hope is that other alumni and people in the community will feel the same way and see the obvious good,” she said. “Without funding, these things are not going to get done and the world would be a very different place.”  

“Dr. Takeuchi’s work and revolutionary products directly impact the world we live in,” said President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “While the Knapp gift allows Esther and her team flexibility in their research, it also provides a first-class learning environment for student researchers.”

Takeuchi plans to use the funds donated by the Knapps to help her team — which she proudly pointed out is comprised of 50 percent women — attain preliminary results needed for future proposals.

“Having some amount of funding that is, in a sense, not directed toward any specific project but directed toward another area of the field allows us to be more creative, to take a little more scientific risk to test ideas,” Takeuchi said. “Energy storage and the environment are linked. You can’t have one without the other, and if we’re attuned to both, then we can advance both.”

Housed in Stony Brook’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center within the Center for Mesoscale Transport Properties (m2m), she and her team — consisting of world-class researchers and Stony Brook graduate students who carry backgrounds in chemistry, material science, electrical engineering and physics — are expecting to find new energy storage alternatives by studying the two most basic products of all energy, work and heat.

Takeuchi used magnetite, a naturally occurring iron oxide, as an example of a potential material they’re studying that’s Earth abundant, relatively available and cheap. “If you had a battery that used magnetite and there were some kind of event, the magnetite is not going to be an environmental disaster, it’s not a highly toxic and damaging material,” she said.

If successful in making magnetite function to its theoretical capacity, the material would be about three times better than the electrodes used in common lithium ion batteries today.

Aside from the revolutionary product Takeuchi and her team work relentlessly for, the benefits to student researchers are immediate. “One of the great things about Stony Brook is its relationship with Brookhaven National Laboratory,” Takeuchi said, where Stony Brook graduate students have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment and experts crucial to the development of cleaner and environmentally friendly batteries, like the synchrotron or electron microscope.

Though students come from different research backgrounds, the collaboration they find under Takeuchi’s supervision is crucial to not only their development as future scientists, but the research itself. “I really think scientific collaboration is where some of the new frontiers are,” Takeuchi said. “Each discipline is continuing to push forward, but sometimes it’s at the boundaries between the disciplines that you can really make breakthroughs.”

“The long-lasting impact Jane and Bill Knapp have had and have on our programs at Stony Brook transfers over into the research of top faculty members like Esther Takeuchi and continues to inspire the intellectual endeavors of our students,” said Senior Vice President of University Advancement Dexter A. Bailey Jr. “With incredible technology and a very talented group working alongside her, I expect we can look forward to many substantial, meaningful discoveries to come.”

—   Jordan Chapman

Cancer researchers receive Damon Runyon Innovation Award

Hallmarks of cancer progression are uncontrolled proliferation (division) of cancer cells and invasive behavior, leading to the spread of tumor cells throughout the body. Now two Stony Brook University cell biologists, David Matus, PhD, and Benjamin Martin, PhD, have discovered that cell division and invasion are mutually exclusive behaviors.

David Matus (seated) and Benjamin Martin view a zebrafish model to understand cancer metastasis.

For this novel finding, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has awarded the researchers with the 2017 Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award and a two-year grant of $300,000, followed by another renewable grant of $300,000 for an additional two years to further advance their work.

“Cells can’t divide and invade at the same time, and most cancer drugs attack tumor overproliferation,” said Dr. Matus, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. “Therefore, we hope our laboratory findings become a key foundation to better understanding the metastatic process in order to design new drugs that attack cancer cells by their mutually exclusive behaviors.”

Drs. Matus and Martin, also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, developed a joint project where they found in the model roundworm, C. elegans, that cell invasion and cell division are mutually exclusive behaviors. This functional link between cell cycle arrest and invasive behavior has not been directly made before, although in a variety of cancers there exists correlative data suggesting that tumor cells become less proliferative during invasion.

Cell invasive behavior occurs during normal embryonic development, immune surveillance, and is dysregulated during metastatic cancer progression. In their ongoing research, the team will leverage their expertise in the strengths of two model systems, C. elegans and the zebrafish, D. rerio, to identify how regulation of the cell cycle intersects with acquisition of cell invasive behavior. As the genetic machinery that regulates the cell cycle is deeply conserved across evolution, insights gained by studying invasive behavior during nematode and fish development will be directly tested in a zebrafish xenograft model. Together, they will examine and manipulate the cell cycle state of human cancer cells during metastasis, visualizing invasive behavior at high resolution using light sheet microscopy.

In recognizing the potential of Drs. Matus and Martin’s work, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation stated that “insights from their work will have profound implications in future design of therapeutics to eradicate invasive cells that may escape traditional chemotherapeutic agents that only target actively dividing cells.”


Caribbean Bats Need 8 million Years to Recover

Stony Brook, NY, January 9, 2016 – Islands are natural laboratories of evolution and home to unique species of animals and plants. But since the arrival of humans, islands have lost many species. In the Caribbean alone, more than half of the mammal species went extinct after human colonization. Bats are the most diverse group of surviving mammals. Can nature restore the numbers of species on islands to levels that existed before human arrival? How long would it take for nature to regain this lost mammal diversity?

To answer these questions, a research team led by Luis Valente at the Berlin Natural History Museum (Germany) and Liliana Dávalos, Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution of Stony Brook University, compiled data on the New World leaf-nosed bats and their close relatives in a paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution . These bats form an ecologically diverse group that includes the fishing bat, many fig-eating bats, and vampire bats. The group is ideal for studying the effects of recent extinction, as one-third of its species have become extinct in the Greater Antilles over the past 20,000 years.

While there is a debate as to what caused these extinctions, the largest wave of species loss came after human arrival. According to Professor Dávalos, it is hard to know whether or not these extinctions would have happened even without humans, as the number of species on islands results from the balance between species gained through colonization and the formation of new species, and losses from natural extinction. Therefore, the team implemented models —known as island biogeography— including these three processes and based on the evolutionary histories of species both alive and extinct.

They found the number of species in the Greater Antilles had strong equilibrium tendencies over millions of years, and recent extinctions had pulled the system away from this natural balance. The tendency to equilibrium also enabled the team to use computer simulations to find out how long it would take for natural processes to restore the number of species found only 20 thousand years ago.

“Remarkably, it would take at least 8 million years to regain the species lost,” said Professor Dávalos. “This incredibly long time required to restore diversity reveals the staggering consequences of extinctions, many caused by humans, on the long-term ecology of islands.”

“Human-caused changes to Earth’s ecosystems are accelerating,” said Leslie Rissler, Program Director in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Environmental Biology. “This study offers important information on how those changes will affect the loss and recovery of species in the future.”

The research was supported in part by funding from the NSF, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Brandenburg Ministry of Science, Research and Culture, the German Research to Valente, and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

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