OK Review Successes and Testimonials


O-K Review successes

Since the O-K Review process was created in 2015, we have reviewed 63 applications. Of these, 15 have been funded:

O-K Review Date Date Funded Investigator and Award
05/07/20 09/25/20

Adriane Wynn

1 K01 AA027733--1A1
Modeling Reductions in Harmful Alcohol Use on HIV Transmission and Mortality in the Era of Universal Test and Treat in Uganda

01/07/20 2020

Sara Gianella

2020 HIV/AIDS Research Avenir Award
Mechanisms of HIV Persistence in Human Tissues

09/07/19 08/19/20

Sara Gianella

1 R01 AI147821-01A1
Mechanisms of CMV Replication on HIV Persistence

09/07/19 07/01/20

Laramie Smith

1 R01 MH123282 01A1
NEXUS: A novel social network approach to intersectional stigma

05/07/19 09/30/19

Amanda Miller

F31 AA028198
Assessing the role of alcohol and intimate partner violence on HIV care and viral suppression in Uganda

01/07/19 08/15/19

Britt Skaathun

1 K01 DA049665 01
Leveraging Networks, Epidemiology, and Epidemic Modeling: Creative Approaches for HIV Elimination

01/08/18 09/15/18

Sarah LaMere

1 K01 OD026565 01
Comparative Retroviral Epigenomics

05/18/17 02/01/18

Adam Fields

1 K01 MH115819 01
Mitochondrial Biogenesis Dysfunction in the CNS of HIV-Infected Individuals on Antiretroviral Therapy

05/18/17 01/01/18

Claire Bristow

1 K01 AI136725 01
Molecular epidemiology of HIV and Neisseria gonorrhoeae in the context of antibiotic resistance at the U.S.-Mexico border

05/08/17 09/20/17

Sara Gianella Weibel, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine

1 R21 HD094646 01
Impact of Declining Sex Hormones on HIV Persistence

01/09/17 06/26/17

Sara Gianella Weibel, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine

Effect of Sex Hormones on HIV Persistence

05/07/16 05/24/17

Kiyomi Tsuyuki

5 K01 AA025009 02
SALUD: Syndemic Alcohol Use Disorders, Violence, and HIV/STI in Young Latino Men

05/07/16 05/24/17

Rebecca Fielding-Miller

1 K01 MH112436 01
Social, structural, and spatial determinants of HIV testing and treatment for high risk women in Iringa, Tanzania

05/07/16 02/15/17

Javier Cepeda

1 K01 DA043421 01
Modeling the Impact of a Police Education Program on HIV Incidence Among People Who Inject Drugs (Tijuana)

08/25/15 07/01/16

Nadejda Beliakova-Bethell, PhD, Associate Director of Genomics and Sequencing Core

1 IK2 BX002731 01A2
HIV Reactivation From Latency Role of CD4 T Cell Maturation Phenotype



Learn how the O-K Review process has helped investigators improve their grant applications.

Laramie Smith, PhD | Assistant Professor

1 R01 MH123282 01A1 | "NEXUS: A novel social network approach to intersectional stigma"

"The K to R transition is quite honestly an increasing statistical improbability when pay lines are set at 9%, and you have a finite number of opportunities to submit a competitive R in the latter years of your K award. You need to take advantage of every opportunity you have to refine your research plan and enhance your grantsmanship precision. The OK Review does just that by providing access to seasoned NIH reviewers invested in your success. OK Reviewers help you to identify potential weaknesses in time for you to address them and have the strongest shot at making it into the top 10 percentile to be considered for funding as an ESI. 

I purposefully requested reviewers that I knew would tear my months of hard work to shreds so that I could build back better. Having that request honored was worth it, with my R01 submission scoring in the 2nd percentile. Beyond the technical support, my reviewers also provided excellent mentorship and social support following the review to navigate this challenging process, reminding me I need to hold tight to my bulldogged persistence if I want to win at these odds. The only drawback to getting my 1st R01 is that I transitioned out of my ESI status and OK Review eligibility. I'm thrilled to be launching the next chapter in my career with SD CFAR!"

Sara Gianella Weibel, MD | Assistant Professor of Medicine


1R21AI134295-01 | "Effect of Sex Hormones on HIV Persistence"

"It is becoming increasingly hard for junior investigators to receive any NIH fundings to support their independent research. This is even harder for international researchers (like me), since we don’t qualify for most career developmental grants. After uncountable failures, I submitted my R21 to the OK study section for review. The reviewers raised concerns that it was too ambitious and suggested to split the project in two separate applications.

I followed their suggestion and both R21s were funded at the first submission with excellent scores. I think the input from the OK study section has been crucial for my success. I would definitively recommend to all junior researcher to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. As an OK reviewer myself, I also encourage all CFAR investigators to serve as reviewers since it really makes a difference."



Jerel Adam Fields, MD | Postdoctoral Scholar


"Mitochondrial biogenesis dysfunction in the CNS of HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy"

"The OK-Review process was instrumental in the crafting my K01 application. I struggled for 2+ years to write a fundable K-application and establish a clear pathway to independence as a principal investigator. After multiple attempts of getting scored just outside the funding range, twice the reviewers of the OK-Review committee helped me get my score cut in half. The OK-Review team provided the sort of constructive and unbiased criticism that is needed to get through the NIH review process.

On the other hand, reviewing applications through the OK-Review process has also served as a valuable tool for my development as a scientist. I strongly suggest that trainees take advantage of this tremendous resource for career development."

At a Glance