New & Veteran IBD Researchers Awarded $4 Million In Grants - Kenneth Rainin Foundation

New & Veteran IBD Researchers Awarded $4 Million In Grants

Dr. Chun-Jun Guo smiling in front of his lab with a row of pipettes behind him. Dr. Chun-Jun Guo. Photo credit: Ashley Jones/Weill Cornell

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has awarded $4 million to support cutting-edge research that has the potential to improve the prediction, prevention and treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Grantees are testing novel ideas from bright light therapy to diet and the gut-brain connection in the hopes of discovering new ways to reduce the risk of flare-ups and improve the lives of patients with IBD.

The Rainin Foundation believes that investing early in new approaches and supporting diverse perspectives can have a profound impact on IBD research. This impact extends to early career researchers who come to us with fresh, innovative thinking. We’re thrilled that over half of this year’s Innovator Award grantees are early career researchers.

“We place great value on supporting early-stage research from new and veteran IBD investigators alike,” said Laura Wilson, PhD, Director of Health Strategy and Ventures. “We appreciate the potential of early career researchers whose new lines of thinking invigorate the field and benefit from the experience of those who’ve come before them.”

The 2022 Innovator Awards Grantees Include:

Learn more about this year’s Innovator Award grantees and their research.

“I am excited to be part of this amazing community of scientists and look forward to identifying ways to use the brain and peripheral nervous system to mitigate symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.”

Gloria Choi, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Continued Support For Innovator Award And Synergy Award Grantees

The Foundation granted continued support to ten Innovator Award grantees from 2019 and 2021 who made significant progress toward their research goals, including:

“The sustained funding from the Rainin Foundation allows us to delve deep into the biology of intestinal tissue repair and develop new regenerative therapies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.”

Shruti Naik, PhD, New York University Grossman School of Medicine

The Foundation also granted continued support to seven Synergy Award grantees from 2019 and 2020 who made significant progress toward their goals. This program encourages collaboration among health researchers from across disciplines to advance the study of IBD. These grantees include:

“We are deeply grateful for the continued support from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation over the past few years. Our Synergy Award has provided new opportunities to bridge the basic science of NOD2 structure and function in IBD with specific microbiota species and mechanisms. Moreover, understanding the immunological mechanisms associated with IBD may also help elucidate inflammatory pathways involved in pandemic viral infections.”

Howard Hang, PhD, Scripps Research

Merging The Innovator And Synergy Awards

The Rainin Foundation is consolidating its Innovator Awards and Synergy Awards into one grant program—the Innovator Awards. Grants will continue to support basic and translational research by both individual investigators and collaborative teams to advance the understanding of IBD. Projects by individual researchers will be funded up to $150,000. Collaborative projects involving multiple researchers will be funded up to $300,000. This merger aims to simplify and streamline the process for applicants and create opportunities for more strategic funding decisions. The Kenneth Rainin Foundation will invite Letters of Inquiry for the Innovator Awards program from August 1 through September 30, 2022.

2022 Innovations Symposium

In addition to its grantmaking, the Rainin Foundation hosts an annual Innovations Symposium, which brings together researchers, trainees and clinicians to encourage dialogue and build bridges that enhance IBD research. Due to ongoing public health concerns, this year’s event will be held virtually on July 25-27, 2022. Twelve speakers have been confirmed and free registration for this online gathering is now open.

To learn more about the Rainin Foundation’s research grantees and funding areas, as well as its vision and strategy for solving IBD, visit: