Pilot Project Program

The Musculoskeletal Research Center’s Pilot Project Program for Cleveland Clinic investigators is available to support currently unfunded, novel, particularly innovative, disease-oriented projects that are in need of the early data that would make them competitive for extramural funding. Funding will be available to support projects along the entire continuum of biomedical investigation, including discovery, translation and direct patient-involved research.

Two types of awards of up to $25,000 each are available: (1) MSRC General awards are for musculoskeletal research projects on any topic related to musculoskeletal research, and (2) MSRC MSK Imaging awards are for musculoskeletal imaging research projects. There are two annual funding cycles; deadlines for applications are March 15 and September 15 of each year.

InfoReady Review is used to manage Pilot Project submissions. Each competition will be launched on the InfoReady Review home page one month prior to the deadline. If you have any issues submitting an application, please contact us.


Cleveland Clinic applicants: view the request for proposal and apply on InfoReady.


General Funded Projects

  • Unnikrishnan Chandrasekharan, PhD: “Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5), a novel drug target of inflammatory arthritis and cardiovascular comorbidity.” (March 2021)
  • Jillian Beveridge, PhD: “Computational Modeling of In Vivo ACL Function” (September 2020)
  • Suneel Apte, MBBS, DPhil: “Proteome-wide analysis of cartilage degradation in knee OA” (March 2020)
  • Carlos Higuera-Rueda, MD: “Efficacy of MagDAA gel on disruption of established bacterial biofilm in a rabbit model of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI)” (March 2019)

MSK Imaging Funded Projects

  • Ceylan Colak, MD and Richard Lartey, PhD: “Optimizing Non-Contrast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Sequences for Knee Synovitis” (Junior Investigator, September 2020)
  • Maryam Zokaeinikoo, PhD: “Automated knee radiograph analysis using deep-learning techniques” (Junior Investigator, September 2020)
  • Brendan Eck, PhD: “Characterization of sarcopenia by magnetic resonance fingerprinting and phosphorous magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging” (Junior Investigator, September 2019)
  • Jinjin Ma, PhD: “Investigating MR Biomarkers of Bone Marrow Quality in Musculoskeletal Disease” (Junior Investigator, September 2018)
  • Mingrui Yang, PhD: “Automated Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy Patient Outcome Prediction using Deep Learning“ (Junior Investigator, September 2018)
  • Nicholas Piuzzi, MD: “A Comparative and Correlative Evaluation of Early to Late Stage Osteoarthritis in Human Knee Cartilage utilizing Clinical and Preclinical MRI Imaging (3T & 7T) with Histopathology and Immunohistochemistry as the Standard” (Junior Investigator, March 2018)
  • John Elias, PhD:  “Optimizing Surgical Stabilization for Patellar Instability to Reduce the Risk of Arthritis” (Established Investigator, March 2018)