2014: A Year in Review for the Michelson Prize & Grants

As 2014 winds down, we at the Gary Michelson Prize & Grants program would like to take some time to reflect on all of the work that our applicants, grantees, board members, and program staff have carried out over the past year.

The MPG program had two milestone achievements in 2014: we received our 300th letter of intent and 100th grant proposal! Our Scientific Advisory Board voted to approve 3 new projects, the details of which will be announced in new blogs as soon as those projects are ready to begin. We will start the New Year having committed over $14 million to more than 30 approved projects worldwide.

Welcoming New Members to our Scientific Advisory Board

Members of our Scientific Advisory Board review all of the LOIs and proposals that we receive, so you can imagine how busy our advisors were this year! We were also excited to welcome the following 5 new advisors to our board:

  • Margaret Barr, DVM, PhD, a Professor of Virology and Immunology at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine;
  • Thomas Conlon, PhD, an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics and Director of the Powell Gene Therapy Center Toxicology Core at the University of Florida;
  • Kevin Morris, PhD, a Research Scholar in Residence at the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver;
  • Amy Ross, PhD, the President of the Board of Governors of the University of Southern California Alumni Association; and
  • Marcel Van Duin, PhD, Senior Director, Reproductive Health Research at Ferring Research Institute.

You can read more about all of the advisors on our board by visiting our Scientific Advisory Board.

Our advisors also accompany program staff on site visits during the first year of every Michelson Grant-funded project. This year, advisors traveled all over the world to perform site visits with grantees in The Netherlands, Scotland, Canada, and the US.

Gary Michelson Grant Funded Projects

Our grantees have been keeping themselves quite busy as well! In May we hosted our 3rd Michelson Grantee Meeting, which brought together investigators from all over the world, Scientific Advisory Board members, and program staff during a full-day meeting consisting of plenary and small group sessions. We are always impressed by our investigators’ passion for the projects that they are working on and by the expertise and advice that they share with other Michelson grantees at these meetings. We are grateful to have been hosted by the innovative group at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, CA for this meeting and were graciously treated to an informative tour of their impressive facilities after our meeting concluded.

Five Michelson Grant-funded projects led by the following investigators were completed in 2014:

  • Meenakshi Alreja, PhD, at Yale University;
  • Cristina Gobello, MV, DVM, DECAR, at the National University of La Plata;
  • Tatiana Samoylova, PhD, at Auburn University;
  • Auke Schaefers-Okkens, DVM, PhD, at Utrecht University; and
  • Kent Van Kampen, DVM, PhD, at Vaxin Inc.

Visit our Research Findings page to learn more about the important contributions that these projects have made in the field of nonsurgical sterilization.

Michelson Prize & Grants Yearly Overview

The new and improved Michelson Prize & Grants website launched on February 25th – the 20th anniversary of World Spay Day – and we couldn’t be happier with our updated look! We hope that you have been enjoying the new Blog and FAQ features and improved navigation and presentation of our website.

The MPG program sponsored exhibit booths at 8 conferences this year including annual meetings of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy, the Society for the Study of Reproduction, and the Society for Neuroscience. We were also incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel internationally to attend the 11th International Symposium on GnRH in Salzburg, Austria and the World Congress of Reproductive Biology in Edinburgh, Scotland. Meetings like these provide important opportunities for our program staff to meet researchers working in fields that are relevant to our mission and to inform potential applicants about our international research grants. In fact, many of the people that we’ve met at conferences like these have gone on to become Michelson grantees and members of our Scientific Advisory Board!

Every year our grantees, scientific advisors, and program staff work together to make great strides in the field of nonsurgical sterilization in our shared effort to end the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable companion animals in shelters. We are looking forward to everything that 2015 has in store for us, including more Scientific Advisory Board meetings to review new grant proposals, a summer grantee meeting, site visits for newly funded projects, and conference exhibit opportunities.

Many thanks to Dr. Gary Michelson and his wife Alya Michelson, whose generous contributions have made possible all of the MPG program’s accomplishments so far, and all of those yet to come.

We wish you and yours a safe and happy New Year!