The Fred and Suzanne Biesecker Pediatric Liver Center




The mission of the Fred and Suzanne Biesecker Pediatric Liver Center (FSBPLC) is to identify the unknown information, treatment and procedures required to enable children with biliary atresia to function and develop normally, and direct research investment towards this goal through the development of a world-renowned Center for pediatric liver disease at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.



Specific Research Goals include:


  1. To understand the role of the immune system in post-transplant liver and develop mechanisms to affect it, and to determine factors that predict tolerance to immunosuppression withdrawal.
  2. To identify the role of the genetic, immune and toxic factors contributing to the cause and ongoing damage in Biliary Atresia
  3. To promote clinical and translational studies in liver disease and Biliary Atresia
  4. To identify factors related to bile duct development, proliferation and destruction
  5. To develop and provide advocacy for pediatric liver diseases, particularly biliary atresia, and to lobby at regional, state and national levels to support the goals of excellent patient care, innovative research and quality professional education by fostering relationships with organizations and officials.
  6. To develop and implement a regional program to promote early detection of biliary atresia and to improve outcomes by implementing early surgical intervention.
  7. To recruit and/or develop a program to synthesize, screen and test therapeutic agents that may treat progression of biliary atresia or improve function of the liver post-Kasai hepatoportoenterostomy
  8. To identify factors involved in liver development, stem cell differentiation and liver regeneration


Purpose and Research Focus of the FSBPLC Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program:


The main purpose of the FSBPLC Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program is to accelerate the pace of research and discovery in the research areas listed above. Specifically, the pilot grants are meant to encourage new collaborations across Divisions and Departments, and to engage researchers who are not currently working in the field of pediatric liver disease.




All faculty members (including Instructors and Research Associates) of the CHOP and/or University of Pennsylvania scientific communities who meet the eligibility requirements below are invited to submit proposals. Applicants must hold one of the following credentials: MD, PhD, MD/PhD, DVM/VMD.


Pilot grants are targeted to:

1) Established investigators in other areas of biomedical research who wish to apply their expertise to a problem involving biliary atresia or other pediatric liver disorders.

2) Established investigators in the pediatric liver disease field who wish to study an area that represents a significant departure from currently funded work.

3) Current FSBPLC members may only apply if the project supports a new collaboration with an investigator in another Division, Department or Institution.


Pilot project awardees are eligible for two years of funding; renewals are evaluated competitively.


Proposal Preparation:

Submit a PDF via email to Jessi Erlichman (erlichman [at] Complete proposals are due by 5PM on September 27, 2019. Awards will be announced in October, 2019.

Format (in the order below)

  • Cover page: includes title, PI information, an abstract of up to 250 words, and a list of approved or pending IACUC/IRB protocols pertaining to the proposed pilot.

  • NIH biographical sketch (for all key personnel)

  • NIH other support (for PI and Co-PI)

  • Budget and justification: one year, $50,000, one page only. Salary support of $10,000 or less allowed but not for the PI.

  • Sections for the main proposal include background and significance, innovation, preliminary results and research plan. The research plan should state specifically how the project will address one of the 8 research goals listed on Page 1.

  • A future directions paragraph must be provided at the end of the proposal articulating how this pilot award will provide necessary data to obtain extramural funding.

  • Page limit for the main proposal: 4 pages total, not including references.

  • Established Investigators should indicate how this project represents a new direction in their research.


    Award Terms:

  • Awardees are required to inform the FSBPLC in the event that the Pilot/Feasibility Project receives external funding during the project period.

  • Support from the FSBPLC Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program must be acknowledged in any publications or presentations resulting from this work.

  • A final progress report is due one month after the close of the project period. The report will contain a one-page synopsis of scientific progress and a list of resulting collaborations, publications, and grants.

  • Award recipients will be invited to present results at a future FSBPLC meeting.