The Beckman Institute Pilot Program is designed to increase the BI's flexibility and responsiveness to new directions and innovations from the Caltech community. Pilot projects are typically at early stages of development, and need support for an exploratory period during which their suitability as future Resource Centers or Facilities can be demonstrated (although other trajectories are possible as well).

At present there are three projects operating under the Pilot Program (for a listing of previous Pilot projects, click here):

1. The former Biological Network Modeling Center has been reconstituted as a new Pilot program, the Center for Advanced Methods in Biological Image Analysis (CAMBIA), with its main emphasis aimed at problems in image processing and analysis. The PI of the project is Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering Elliot Meyerowitz, and the Center's Director is Alexandre Cunha. The program's website is at http://www.cambia.caltech.edu.

2. A Pilot project entitled "Single-cell Profiling and Engineering Center" has been established under the leadership of Matt Thomson, beginning in fall 2017. The Center will foster the development and dissemination of methodology for simultaneously profiling RNA in very large numbers of single cells. The program's website is at spec.caltech.edu.

3. Long Cai's "seqFISH" technology for the direct in situ observation of gene expression patterns in individual cells within tissue samples is the basis of the Spatial Genomics pilot project, established in fall 2019. The Center will foster the development and dissemination of methodology for simultaneously profiling RNA in very large numbers of single cells. The program's website is at http://singlecell.caltech.edu/cailab/research/index.html.



Potential applicants for new Pilot projects are encouraged to consult with the BI Director, Prof. Dennis Dougherty, the BI Administrator, Dr. Jay Labinger, and/or one or more member(s) of the BI Executive Committee, before preparing and submitting a proposal. Proposals that demonstrate potential synergy with existing Resource Center programs are welcome; information on current BI activities may be found elsewhere on this website.

Guidelines for proposals are as follows:

  1. Proposals should be concise (10 pages maximum), and should clearly indicate the potential of the proposed project as a future Resource Center, the plan for the exploratory period, rational for BI funding, and how BI funding will be leveraged by other sources (if that is the case).
  2. Proposals are normally received during the first part of each calendar year. The next deadline for submission of proposals is March 15, 2020.
  3. Requests will be considered for funding up to $200K per year for a period of 1-3 years.
  4. Proposals must be accompanied by a Divisional Approval Form signed by the appropriate division chair(s).