Funding Opportunities

IFOPA FOP Competitive Research Grants 

About the Competitive Research Grant Program

The IFOPA offers the FOP Competitive Research Grant (CRG) Program to help accelerate development of safe and transformative therapies for the disease. The research grant program provides, through a competitive application process, funding to scientists conducting research on fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). 

Research Focus

Research grants should focus on discovery and advancement of new therapeutic approaches to FOP with preference towards approaches likely to have near-term clinical or translational relevance.

Mechanism of Support

The program awards research grants for a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $100,000 for one year. A total of $100,000 is available for funding in 2017, allowing for either multiple grants of less than $100,000 or a single grant for the full amount. Researchers may receive a second year of funding based on their progress and milestones achieved in the first year and the availability of continued funding. 

Applications that are scored favorably but not funded during the initial awards cycle may be funded as additional money becomes available. 

Proposals involving meaningful collaboration among investigators with complementary capabilities are encouraged. Awards can be split among investigators’ institutions as needed. 

Grant funds may not be used for indirect or overhead costs.

For more information about the Grant Program, including information on the evaluation process and criteria, please see the Grant Program Application Guidelines.  


FOP researchers with a doctoral degree (MD, PhD or equivalent) at any stage of their career in any country are eligible to apply. Applications must be in English.  

2017 Application Schedule

  • April 26, 2017 — Announcement of 2017 program
  • June 30, 2017 — Deadline for proposals
  • October 15, 2017 — Anticipated award announcement
  • December 1, 2017 — Funding available

How to Apply

Please consult and follow these application materials and instructions:

The 2017 application cycle closed on June 30; winners will be announced in October 2017. Please direct any questions about the Competitive Research Program to

Scientific Advisory Board

Applications are reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Board that is free of conflict of interest and has relevant and appropriate expertise related to FOP to evaluate proposals.

The IFOPA Scientific Advisory Board includes:

Vicki Rosen, PhD, Chair
Department of Developmental Biology
Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Karen Lyons, PhD
Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology
UCLA/ Orthopaedic Hospital Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Ernestina Schipani, MD, PhD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
University of Michigan

Michael Whyte, MD
Division of Bone & Mineral Diseases
Washington University School of Medicine

Michael Zasloff, MD, PhD
Department of Surgery Georgetown
University Medical Center

2016 Grants

Allosteric inhibitors of ALK2 for FOP therapy


Principal Investigator: Alex Bullock, PhD
Co-investigators: Paul Brennan, PhD and Frank von Delft, PhD
Institution: Oxford University, United Kingdom
Award Amount: $26,421
This grant is funded in partnership with FOP Friends® UK.

Project Description: The University of Oxford FOP Research Team plans to develop a second generation ALK2/ACVR1 inhibitor for FOP therapy by targeting novel allosteric sites that allow for exquisite target selectivity and further improved drug safety. The team will screen a drug fragment library using X-ray crystallography and solve hundreds of 3D structures of the ALK2/ACVR1 protein to identify drug fragments that bind outside the ATP pocket and lock the kinase domain in an inactive state. Further chemistry will then be used to optimize these fragments into potent inhibitors that can block heterotopic ossification (HO) in FOP.

Development of antisense oligonucleotide therapy for FOP


Principal Investigator: Oana Caluseriu, MD and Toshifumi Yokota, PhD
Co-applicant: Rika Maruyama, PhD
Institution: University of Alberta, Canada
Award Amount: $35,070
This grant is funded in partnership with the FOP Canadian Network.

Project Description: The University of Alberta team will develop a new therapy for FOP using small DNA-like molecules. These molecules can reduce the gene product that induces abnormal bone formation in FOP patients. The team will evaluate the efficacy and safety of these molecules in an FOP mouse model. This research will identify new drug candidates for FOP.

Experimental therapy to prevent secondary heterotopic ossification following surgical intervention in FOP


Principal Investigators: Paul B. Yu, MD, PhD and Dong-Dong Xia, MD
Institution: Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, United States
Award Amount: $46,446

Project Description: In advanced stages of FOP, progressive disease affects nearly all joints, with very limited mobility and high risk for traumatic injury. Surgical excision of heterotopic bone from muscle and soft tissues has been attempted, but almost always leads to rapid recurrence of heterotopic bone and recurrent loss of function. Current options for elective surgery in FOP are extremely limited, due to the lack of effective measures to prevent secondary bone formation following surgical trauma. We hypothesize that dysregulated ACVR1 ALK2 activity, in addition to driving primary heterotopic ossification (HO) in FOP, is responsible for the formation of secondary HO following surgical injury. We propose that pharmacologic inhibition of ALK2 kinase activity for a limited period following surgical intervention will prevent recurrent bone formation while permitting normal wound healing. We will test the efficacy and tolerability of this approach in an animal model of FOP expressing the ACVR1R206H mutant allele. It is hoped these experiments will provide a rationale for initiating clinical trials investigating the efficacy of this strategy in patients with advanced FOP.

2015 Grants

Validation of novel diagnostic and targeted prophylaxis for FOP related heterotopic ossification


Principal Investigators:  Yuji Mishina, PhD and Benjamin Levi, MD
Institution:  University of Michigan, United States 
Award Date: October 22, 2015
Award Amount:  $41,800
Project Start/Stop Date: December 2015 to November 2016

Project Description: The University of Michigan team plans to define the early chondrogenic environment that precedes heterotopic bone formation. They then plan to use a repurposed HIF-1-alpha inhibitor, both alone and in combination with an ACVR1-specific kinase inhibitor, to alter this environment and subsequently inhibit the formation of heterotopic bone in vivo.

Assessment of small agents in FOP primary fibroblast cultures to explore new therapeutic targets


Principal Investigators:  Gerard Pals, PhD and Marelise Eekhoff, MD, PhD 
Institution:  VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands
Award Date: October 22, 2015
Award Amount:  $55,000
Project Start/Stop Date: December 2015 to November 2016
Project Description: The Dutch Amsterdam FOP dedicated research team (VUMC/ACTA) of the Netherlands developed an innovative in vitro model to study ectopic bone formation from very small skin biopsies that can be obtained safely. In this model small molecular compounds will be investigated on their treatment potential. The result will generate new treatment options for FOP and support personalized treatment in the future.

The role of exercise in the progression of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva


Principal Investigators:  Paul B. Yu, MD, PhD and Yue Shen, MBBS 
Institution:  Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, United States
Award Date: October 22, 2015
Award Amount:  $28,000
Project Start/Stop Date: December 2015 to November 2016
Project Description: The impact of physical activity on the progression of FOP is not currently known, and thus clinicians are unable to provide evidence-based recommendations to patients on whether or not to pursue organized athletic activities or regular exercise as part of their routine. Using a knock-in mouse model which expresses the classic FOP-causing mutation ACVR1R206H under endogenous promoter control, they have observed spontaneous ligamentous and joint ossification that occur slowly but progressively with age. They will test the impact of voluntary exercise versus limb immobilization, versus normal cage activity on the progression of heterotopic ossification in these mice, hypothesizing that physiologic levels of activity have a beneficial impact on the disease.

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