Developmental and Hyperactive Ras Tumor (DHART) SPORE Funding Opportunity

Johns Hopkins is a participating site in the Developmental and Hyperactive RaTumor (DHART) SPORE ( This SPORE program has the goal of improving the diagnosis and management of tumors arising in persons with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and other inherited “Rasopathy” syndromes through basic, translational, and clinical research. These tumors include cutaneous neurofibroma, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST), optic track glioma, juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), and subsequent malignant neoplasms caused by prior exposure to mutagenic chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Research proposals investigating the role of somatic NF1 mutations in cancers such as glioblastoma, adenocarcinoma of the lung, melanoma, breast cancer and myeloid leukemia are also of substantial interest.

Two programs are accepting applications now:

  1. Developmental Research Program (DRP)
  2. Career Enhancement Program (CEP)

Requirements for both are a research question pertinent to the disease areas outlined above and a focus on translational science. Both are 12 month awards with the potential to extend to 24 months if there is robust progress and high impact findings.  Both support funding at $50,000-$75,000/year that can be used for salary of the PI (up to 10% of the NIH cap); other research personnel, supplies, or small equipment (funds cannot be used to purchase large equipment). For both awards, faculty members from under-represented in medicine groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Developmental Research Program (DRP) is intended to support innovative pilot projects to advance the diagnosis and treatment of early stage tumors and advanced cancers characterized by germline and somatic NF1 mutations. The DRP will accomplish this goal by funding rigorous translational research in the areas of population science, therapeutics, and mechanisms of disease and by facilitating collaborative interactions between DRP-funded scientists and other SPORE investigators.  Investigators should meet all of the eligibility criteria for an R01, but not have an R01 in a topic area directly related to NF1.  They may also not have a K08 or K23.

The Career Enhancement Program (CEP) is intended to: (1) attract outstanding early stage basic scientists and translational/clinical investigators to the field of NF1-assocaited tumor research; (2) assist in the career development of these early stage faculty; and, (3) to encourage collaborations between investigators that can lead to new ideas and directions in research related to tumors associated with NF1 mutations while also contributing to career development. Applicants must have faculty appointments and be scientifically independent by the criterion of eligibility to apply for NIH R01 awards, but cannot currently hold R01 or equivalent funding for NF1-related research. Applicants may have a NIH career development awards (K08; K23) for this mechanism.

The application process is identical for both mechanisms. The application consists of:

  1. A cover page signed by the Principal Investigator (PI) and her/his department chair.
  2. A single page containing an abstract of no more than 350 words briefly summarizing the project and a 200 word statement describing relevance of to the goals of the DHART SPORE
  3. A non-redundant 2 page scientific proposal that includes aims, background, preliminary data (if available), and research plan. All figures and tables must be included within the 2 page proposal and appendices are not permitted. A bibliography listing citations to published work is the only item not included in the 2 page limit.
  4. The NIH Biographical Sketch of the Principal Investigator (PI) and of any key collaborators
  5.  An itemized budget page and budget justification.

Proposals must use 11 point Arial font style throughout (except for Figure Legends) and 0.5 inch margins. Proposals that do not conform to these guidelines will be returned without review.

Contract and grants approval is not required to apply.

A full application packet is provided with this announcement and is also available by contacting Ms. Flora Ignacio at . Completed applications should be submitted electronically to Ms. Ignacio at the email address above in a single pdf file. The submission deadline is Thursday, August 19, 2021.

Application review:  All applications will be reviewed by the DHART SPORE Steering Committee and prioritized on the basis of translational potential; scientific quality; qualifications and track record of the PI; potential for development of the project to a full project or clinical trial; and relevance to goals of the DHART SPORE. The tentative funding start date will be December 1, 2021.

Obligations of the Successful Applicant:  Successful applicants are required to have a mentor for their project, which is generally chosen from a group of experienced DHART SPORE investigators. Alternate qualified mentors will also be considered. Successful applicants are required to interact with the mentor on a regular basis.  Awardees are also invited to participate in DHART SPORE activities and present at the annual program retreat. A progress report must be submitted at the end of the funding period.

Any questions can be directed to: