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 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

  • One research proposal (clinical or translational) will be funded for 2020-21 depending on the merit of the applications received.
  • Grants are for 1 year of funding only
  • 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 process

  • Download and complete the 2020 application form.
  • The scientific proposal should be limited to one (1) page (excluding references). The proposal should include a paragraph on the unmet need for the research, followed by an outline of the proposal and how the funds (if awarded) would be used. The final paragraph should outline the goal and what impact this proposal will have for your future research direction.
  • An up-to-date biographical sketch (using NIH format) should be included with the application
  • Obtain a letter of support from your mentor.  This letter needs to state what space and support will be made available to the applicant during the tenure of the Mario Scholars Award, as well as plans for the eventual transition of the applicant to become an independent investigator.
  • Obtain a letter from your Division Chief confirming your fellowship appointment and stating what additional resources will be made available to support the applicant and the applicant’s research.  If the mentor is also the Division Chief, a letter from the Division’s fellowship director could be substituted.
  • Submit the application as a PDF document to Dr. Magnus Ohman. Include the name of your mentor and the name of your division chief.
  • Deadline for the application is March 13, 2020.

Competitive process

  • Applications will be reviewed by a panel of senior scientists from the Department of Medicine.
  • Award notification will occur by April 15, 2020, for funding start date of July 1, 2020.

Progress Report

A final progress report is due by July 31, 2021. This should be brief (less than 1 page), reporting on any publications or presentations at national meetings, summarizing grant support received and future plans. Copies of published abstracts and papers should be provided, if available.