The Cardiovascular Translational Dream Team Initiative

Call for Proposals


Opening date: May 1, 2023
Application due date: June 30, 2023 at 5 pm E.T.
Anticipated funding start date: October 1, 2023


Rationale and Overview

We are witnessing a period of unprecedented opportunity in translational research and experimental medicine. The opportunity for translational impact is particularly evident in the area of cardiovascular diseases. The Penn and CHOP Cardiovascular Institutes (CVIs) are well-positioned for success in this new environment. To this end, we developed and launched the Cardiovascular Translational “Dream Teams” initiative in December 2018.  The Dream Teams engage in highly focused projects with significant potential for translational breakthroughs across the broad spectrum of heart and vascular diseases including novel therapeutics (e.g. small molecules, biologicals), human diagnostic phenotyping tools (e.g. molecular/genetic profiling, imaging, informatics), and innovative devices. Such teams are typically assembled under the guidance of two or more faculty scientists who collectively contribute expertise across the spectrum of discovery and clinical research. Investigators in the rank of Senior Investigators and Research Associate may apply on the condition of providing an approval letter from the Department Chair and a letter from the faculty member PI of the lab, assuring that a Research Associate’s project represents an independent new extension of the research area of this lab. We encourage participation by a wide array of disciplines in addition to medicine, including but not limited to engineering, physics, chemistry, and business.


We are soliciting proposals for new Dream Team projects from across the entire Penn and CHOP communities. A unique feature of this initiative is the ultimate goal of clinical validation and development in partnership with the private sector which may involve formation of a new company or joint ventures with industry partners, non-profit foundations, and/or committed donors with the common goal of developing first in human trials. Team applications will be reviewed and selected by the CVI Dream Team Executive Steering Committee (ESC) comprised of senior Penn scientists and ad-hoc experts as needed.  The funding will be keyed to specific steps or milestones en route to successful launching of a company or academic-private partnership. Successful projects will receive up to $150,000 per annum (for up to two years). The level of annual funding will vary in accordance with project needs and the stage of project development. An important final milestone is to accomplish or show convincing progress towards the development of a company or an academic-private partnership. Teams that successfully achieve the stated milestones will be poised to develop a business plan and secure new investment funding from a variety of potential sources including: private partners involved in the project, venture capital sources, and federal small business grants. We expect to fund 2-4 Teams linked to this Call for Proposals. 


Anticipated Success Metrics and Deliverables for the Dream Team Initiative
  • Highly visible and impactful translation of discoveries made by Penn scientists
  • Novel therapeutic approaches for a broad array of diseases including heart failure, vascular disease, and cardiac rhythm disorders
  • New predictive and therapy-guiding diagnostics for heart and vascular diseases
  • Increased Penn scientist-private sector partnerships
  • First-in-human trials
  • New small business spinouts
  • New intellectual property in the cardiovascular space
  • Licensing opportunities


Please direct any questions related to the application or funding to Teresa Leone at  


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