Pinn Scholars

March 16, 2023 by   |   Leave a Comment

Named in honor of the extraordinary career of Dr. Vivian Pinn, a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the inaugural director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, the Pinn Scholars Program seeks to recognize and reward research faculty whose scientific expertise and productivity, mentorship, and service have resulted in significant contributions to the School of Medicine and greater research community. Up to three scholars will be chosen each year.  Scholars will receive funds to elevate their science and will participate in an annual symposium.

Eligibility & Criteria for Selection

The program is limited to full-time faculty members who, at the date of nomination, hold the rank of Associate Professor (tenure optional) or have held the rank of Professor for not more than 3 years at the time of nomination.

To be considered, candidates will have a record of research accomplishment, and will have successfully renewed a competing R01 or equivalent grant, or will have demonstrated comparable success with investigator-initiated clinical research.  The candidate should also have documented evidence of collaboration within or outside the university, and demonstrated mentorship and service that have contributed to the UVA scientific community.  Scholars are also expected to model the ASPIRE values of the UVA Health System.

The SOM Office for Research will convene a committee that will meet annually to select the faculty members to join the cadre of existing Pinn scholars.


Each faculty member will bear the title of UVA Vivian Pinn Scholar for three consecutive years beginning in June.  No individual may be appointed to more than one three-year term.


Pinn Scholars will receive $120,000 for the three-year period to support their research programs exclusive of personal salary. Funds will be delivered to the scholars from the following sources at the beginning of the award:

  • $40,000 external award from the UVA Health System
  • $40,000 matching internal award from the nominating department/center
  • $40,000 matching internal award from the School of Medicine

Maximum spending is limited to the cumulative Scholar award amount, i.e. no greater than $120,000.  At the end of year three, any unspent funds may be carried forward for one year; at the end of year four, any funds remaining will revert to funding awards for future scholars.

It is expected that these funds will be used to develop a new project or direction in the applicant’s research, which should be outlined in the application.  Pinn Scholars will share the results of their work and this new project in a yearly Pinn Scholars Symposium.

Application Process

Department chairs or center directors will formally nominate eligible faculty. The following application documentation is required by April 10, 2023:

  • Primary letter of nomination from sponsoring chair or center director clearly addressing eligibility criteria and accomplishments, and committing funds for the Pinn Scholar. These funds ($40,000) will be committed by June of the first year.
  • Two letters of support, one of which is external to UVA.
  • Curriculum Vitae, including current, pending, and past grant support and research accomplishments.
  • The applicant’s description (one page) of how the award will be used to expand the applicant’s research in a new project or direction.

All application materials should be converted to a single pdf and submitted via email to Mary Peace McRae

Late or incomplete packets, or those that do not comply with the application guidelines, will not be considered.

2022 Pinn Scholars and their projects:

Ani Manichaikul, PhD

Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences

Project: Single Cell Transcriptomics in Human Lung

Project description: Dr. Manichaikul will establish a research program for single cell RNA-sequencing, analysis and interpretation of human lung tissue from diverse lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. This program will strengthen the translational component of UVA’s existing research program in biology of COPD and emphysema.

Sean Moore, MD, MS

Professor of Pediatrics

Project: Maternal Microbiome, Metabolism and Infant Neurocognitive and Developmental Study (3MINDS)

Project description: Dr. Moore will engage with faculty across the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Education, Engineering and Data Science in partnership with stakeholders in Charlottesville and central Virginia to develop an ethical and mature scientific and logistical framework and sustainability plan for the 3MINDS study. 3MINDS is a maternal-child cohort study that was developed to understand the dynamic links between the environment, brain, gene structure and activity, nutrition, and microbiota that influence healthy growth and developmental outcomes.

Hui Li, PhD

Professor of Pathology

 Project: Genome wide study of chimeric RNAs and their implication in colorectal cancer

Project description: Dr. Li will use an unbiased approach to investigate chimeric RNAs in colorectal cancer, characterize their

landscape, study their function, and investigate their biomarker and therapeutic potential.



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