Sanford Center for Biobehavioral Research COBRE Pilot Projects

The Sanford Center for Biobehavioral Research recently received a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence Grant (CoBRE) from the National Institutes of Health focused on eating disorders and obesity. North Dakota State University (NDSU) and the University of North Dakota (UND) are partners in this program. 

As part of this award, the CoBRE is sponsoring a Pilot Projects Program. This program is open to staff and faculty from Sanford, NDSU, and UND. The goal is to provide scientists and clinicians with the opportunity to conduct pilot studies which can ultimately lead to broader scientific investigations in the areas of eating disorders and obesity. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • risk factors or predictors of eating disorder behavior;
  • illness-related mechanisms for onset and maintenance of eating disorders; 
  • intervention-related mechanisms regarding treatment or prevention of eating disorders;
  • factors that moderate the influence of risk factors or mechanism of eating disorder behavior;
  • the prevalence of eating disordered behaviors in different populations; and
  • the association between eating disordered behaviors and other health-related behaviors.

Two $50,000 awards will be made this year. Letters of Intent are due by October 15, 2021.

If you have any questions about the pilot project program, please reach out to Kathryn Bentley, RN, the Research Project Manager for Pilot Projects at or 701-365-4916.


Sanford Health - NDSU Collaborative Seed Grant Program

IMPORTANT: No new awards are being funded under this program.  Information is being provided for existing projects.

In 2014, Sanford Health and North Dakota State University (NDSU) partnered together to conduct collaborative research on human nutrition, weight management and other dietary-related areas as part of a seed-grant initiative developed between the two organizations. The program was developed to encourage research collaborations between the two organizations in the areas of metabolism, food choices and consumption, pre-natal nutrition, genetics, sensors to monitor wellness, and the human microbiome.  


All publications and presentations related to funded projects must be submitted to Sanford thirty (30) calendar days prior to the first submission of such proposed publication or presentation to a journal, editor, or third party.  Sanford will have twenty (20) calendar days after the receipt of the publication or presentation to review it and proved comments, including any claim that the proposed publication contains Sanford Confidential Information. This is not a publication restriction but a standard review for confidential/proprietary data and review for intellectual property that may need protection prior to publication.

All publications and presentations must make the following acknowledgement in an appropriate location: “Support for this project was provided by the Sanford Health – North Dakota State University Collaborative Research Seed Grant program.” If a grant number is required, this can be provided by the Sanford Research Grants Office. 


A semi-annual and a final progress report are required for all funded projects.  Each report should be submitted using the report template with no more than 4 pages of narrative and a single page update on expenditures.

2019 Award Recipients

Ryan McGrath Health, Nutrition & Exercise SciencesThe Grip Strength, Internet Activity, and Nutrition Trial: The GIANT Study $89,739 
Jeffery Johnson PsychologyThe Neurocognitive Process Underlying Loss of Control Eating $98,522 
Keerthi Nawarathna Electrical and Computer EngineeringEfficacy of microRNA Testing for Identification of Personalized Weight Management Strategy in Obese and Overweight Individuals $91,742

2018 Award Recipients

Amanda Brooks Pharmaceutical SciencesThe Effect of The Gut Microbiota Composition on Calorie Utilization: A Translational Approach$76,098
Clayton Hilmert PsychologyThe Impacts of Prenatal Nutrition Stress, and Reactivity on Blood Sugar and Perinatal Outcomes$86,969
Kristine Steffen Pharmaceutical SciencesThe Impact of Weight Loss Surgery, Positive Airway Pressure Therapy and Combined Modalities on Metabolic  Hormones Regulating Appetite and Food Intake$86,934

2017 Award Recipients

PI Department   TitleAmount 
Danling Wang  Electrical and Computer Engineering    Low Cost Acetone Sensor for Early-Stage Diabetes Diagnosis and Daily Monitoring $67,500
Senay Simsek   Plant Sciences     Colon Cancer Reduction and the Gut Microflora: Effect of Flavonoids from Red Wheat       $100,000
Mohiuddin Quadir    Food Science and Nutrition      Nanocapsule-mediated Dietary Delivery of Arginine for Acute Wound Healing $80,500

2016 Award Recipients

Kyle Hackney Health, Nutrition & Exercise SciencesProtein Intake and Muscular Health with Aging:  Effects of Increased Physical Activity$76,000
Steven Qian Pharmaceutical SciencesDownregulation of D5D to Exploit Anti-cancer Effects of omega-6 Diet Supplementation for Colon Cancer Treatment$87,000


Kristine Steffen
Amanda Brooks

Pharmaceutical SciencesThe Effect of Nutrient Intake and Probiotic Administration on Weight and Glucoregulation Before and After Bariatric Surgery$87,000

2015 Award Recipients

Kyle HackneyHealth, Nutrition & Exercise SciencesProtein Intake and Muscular Health with Aging$77,270
Leah IrishPsychologyTemporal Dynamics of Sleep and Energy Consumption and Expenditure$77,636
Katie ReindlBiological SciencesDietary Flaxseed to Prevent Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in American Indian Smokers$95,087
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