Toffler Scholar Program


Applications are due to the FSU College of Medicine by April 15, 2024. Click here for more information.


The Toffler Scholar Program was created by the Trustees of the Karen Toffler Charitable Trust, a 501 C3 nonprofit foundation focused on early-stage research that advances the medical field in profound, high-impact ways. Tapping into the deep legacy of their founders, best-selling authors and futurists, Alvin and Heidi Toffler, the trust exists to be a catalyst for future-focused breakthroughs. The Toffler Scholar Program focuses on helping university medical researchers gain access to support and a network of often underfunded innovations. It is a nimble source of financial support for medical researchers working on early-stage, future-focused brain science. Together with the Florida State University College of Medicine, the program helps foster new ways of thinking and problem solving to find solutions to humanity's most difficult problems. 

Toffler Scholar Program awards are one-year grants open to junior faculty working in research related to neurological, neuromuscular, neurodegeneration or neurodegenerative diseases. Questions about the program or requests for notification of upcoming award opportunities can be directed to

2023 Toffler Awardee

Jie Chen, PhD, RN

Dr. Jie Chen

Dr. Chen is an assistant professor at the FSU College of Nursing (CON) and an investigator at the FSU Brain Science & Symptom Management Center (BSSMC). Dr. Chen’s long-term research goal is to develop a precision pain self-management program among older adults as a leader in the field of research on the “Gut-Brain Axis (GBA)” and meditation for low back pain in older adults. Integrating the GBA mechanisms of mind-body intervention studies using advanced genomic knowledge and technologies will accelerate the development of new multi-omics-based therapeutic strategies to manage pain and co-current symptoms among older adults, which is also one of Dr. Chen’s career goals.

Project Title: 

Mindfulness-based meditation for older adults with chronic low back pain based on the gut-brain axis: A pilot randomized controlled trial.

Project Summary:

The proposed pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) aims to investigate the effect of mindfulness-based meditation (MBM) on reducing pain and symptoms among community-dwelling older adults with chronic low back pain and to test the impact of the MBM intervention on the GBA. The proposed study will be one of the first trials to investigate the effect of meditation on managing chronic low back pain among older adults dwelling in North Florida. This study will also be one of the first to identify the mechanisms of meditation intervention on the GBA. Preliminary data generated from this project will lead to an R01 application to deliver the meditation intervention by conducting a large-scale RCT.

Previous Toffler Awardees: