The Mario Family Foundation Award

Training the next generation of biomedical researchers is an important core mission of the Department of Medicine.

We admit the most promising, dedicated fellows into our programs, and provide experiences that will allow them to put their passion for medicine to work. These fellows will be tomorrow’s leaders in science and medicine.

The Mario Family Foundation has generously supported this mission to support junior investigators in training to make the transition to become independent scientists and planning for their first extra-mural funding.

About the Mario Family Foundation

Ernest Mario, PhD, founded the Mario Family foundation, a private charitable organization, in 1997. Dr. Mario is a native of New Jersey. He received a bachelor of science in Pharmacy from Rutgers University, and Masters and PhD degrees in Physical Sciences from the University of Rhode Island. During his distinguished career, he held a variety of leadership roles in several pharmaceutical companies. In recognition of his leadership in the pharmaceutical industry and support for the school, the Rutgers school of pharmacy was renamed the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy in 2002. Dr. Mario served on the Duke Board of Trustees, and he was chairman of the Duke University Health System board of directors. He was named Trustee Emeritus of Duke University in 2007, and is the second longest serving trustee in the school’s history. He was awarded The University Medal in 2009, Duke’s highest recognition of service to the school.

About the Award


  • Physician-in-training (fellow in specialty training, with completed residency training) within any of the Divisions in the Department of Medicine focusing on patient-oriented research (clinical or translational) are welcome to apply.
  • The applicant must have approval from his/her Division Chief to apply.
  • The candidate can also be part of a training grant (T32), but should not be in receipt of an external career development award (eg. K01, K08, K23 or VA CDA, etc.) at the time of application.  Internal K awards do not disqualify (eg., KL2, K12, etc.).

Funding Mechanism

  • Two patient-oriented research proposals (clinical or translational) will be funded depending on the merit of the applications received.
  • Grants are for one year of funding only.  Projects should be feasible to complete within a one year time frame.  
  • Funding is intended to provide support (salary and fringe benefits, or support of a research project) for the applicant during his/her research year in a Division of the Department of Medicine.  The total funding for all proposal expenses is $35,000.
  • The funds need to be used during the year awarded.  Any funds not expended during this time will be returned to the Department of Medicine at the end of the grant period.

Application form

Please download the application form (an editable .doc file), complete it, include name of the mentor and the name of the Division Chief, and save as one PDF file to be uploaded in the submission form below.

Submission form

Open the online form to submit the application.     

Submit the application as ONE PDF document.


Deadline for the application is May 3, 2024, 5pm.

Competitive process

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of senior scientists from the Department of Medicine.

Award notification will occur by June 30, 2024, for funding start date of July 1, 2024.

Progress Report

A final progress report is due by July 31, 2025 (one month after the grant period). This should be brief (less than 1 page), reporting on any publications or presentations at national meetings, summarizing grant support received including reference to the Mario Family Foundation Award and future plans. Copies of published abstracts and papers should be provided, if available.


Project Contact

For questions regarding these proposal guidelines, eligibility requirements, or for other information related to this award, please contact:

Saini Pillai, MBA
Senior Program Coordinator
Department of Medicine, Chair's Office