February 24, 2020

UMD News

The prejudices kids acquire early on can become deeply entrenched and hard to change as adults. In this piece from The Conversation, Professor Melanie Killen (HDQM) explains why it is important for schools to encourage students to overcome the bigotry they have learned by making friends with people who don’t look like them.


Normal daily life has come to a virtual standstill in large parts of China as a result of the epidemic of COVID-19—and so has science. Universities across the country remain closed, access to labs is restricted, and fieldwork has been interrupted. Yet scientists elsewhere in the world are noticing an impact as well, as collaborations with China are on pause and scientific meetings for the next 5 months have been canceled or postponed.
In less than a decade since its adaptation to a genome-editing technique, CRISPR-Cas9 has been used on lab animals and cells around the world, even as limitations such as off-target edits are widely acknowledged by CRISPR users. While researchers have been working to tweak the method, a new study in mice documents frequent undesirable repeats of DNA insertions that are not detected using standard PCR analysis.
New research into young-onset Parkinson's applies the Nobel-prize winning technique for generating stem cells from adult blood cells. Researchers obtained the blood cells from early-onset Parkinson's patients and then used the patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to make neurons that produce dopamine. The technique gives researchers a window back in time to see how dopamine neurons might have functioned from the start of a patient's life.
According to a new study, New Zealand’s North Island robins are capable of remembering a foraging task taught to them by researchers for up to 22 months in the wild. These results echo the findings of a number of laboratory studies of long-term memory in animals, but they offer a rare example of a wild animal retaining a learned behavior with no additional training. The study also has implications for conservation and wildlife management given the birds' constantly changing habitat.
The process leading to abnormally high levels of β-amyloid—the protein plaques associated with Alzheimer's that gradually accumulate in the brain and kill affected neurons—is typically long. However, researchers now report that early, subtle differences in cognitive performance, such as fewer words recalled on a memory test, are a sign that harmful proteins are accumulating in the brain, even if levels of those proteins do not yet qualify as dangerous.
Translating neural devices from animals to humans is key to the BRAIN Initiative’s goal of developing new technologies to better understand the human brain. Initial feasibility studies, clinical trials, and device marketing are all stages of device development that may require some regulatory engagement. The resources found here are designed to benefit BRAIN Initiative applicants, investigators, or anyone seeking guidance on neural device regulations.

Seed Grant Program RFP

The Brain and Behavior Initiative is seeking the next round of exciting proposals for collaborative research about behavior and the brain!
Over the last four years, BBI has awarded seed funding to 27 teams of innovative interdisciplinary researchers from nearly 30 departments, centers, and institutes across campus. These have been extremely successful: BBI's $1.75M investment has yielded $12.5M in funding from NIH, NSF, and AFOSR.
Brief Statement of Intent: March 2, 2020
Full Proposal Deadline: March 30, 2020
Please see this year's Frequently Asked Questions, or direct queries to

This Week's Events

Educational Psychology Colloquium
Speaker: Jeff Greene (University of North Carolina)
Title: "The Promises and Perils of Online Learning in the Modern World"
Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Time: 12:45 p.m.
Location: 0220 Benjamin Building
More info

Imaging Flow Cytometer Workshop
Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Time: 8:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: 1105 Kim Engineering Building
More info

CLIP Colloquium
Speaker: Alexander Hoyle (University of Maryland)
Title: "Structuring posterior inference: unsupervised methods to find gendered words and generate sentiment lexica"
Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: 5105 Iribe Center
More info

Developmental Science Colloquium
Speaker: Luke Butler (University of Maryland)
Title: "The Empirical Child? A Framework for Investigating How Children Learn to Engage in the Scientific Process"
Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: 1121 Benjamin Building
More info

Language Science Lunch Talk Series
Speaker: Patrick Plummer (Howard University)
Date: Thursday, February 27, 2020
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: 2130 H. J. Patterson Building
More info

Conference on Big Data in Public Health
Date: Friday, February 28, 2020
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: 1312 School of Public Health Building
More info

NACS Seminar
Speaker: Manoj Srinivasan (Ohio State University)
Title: "Theories of human locomotion: How healthy humans walk stably and efficiently, with implications to design of assistive devices"
Date: Friday, February 28, 2020
Time: 10:15 a.m.
Location: 1103 Bioscience Research Building
More info

Center for Mathematics Education Colloquium
Speaker: Alejandra Sorto (Texas State University)
Title: "What Matters for Learners in Linguistically Diverse Classrooms?"
Date: Friday, February 28, 2020
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: 2121 Benjamin Building
More info

Funding Announcements

**Below is a list of recent funding announcements; a running compendium of open FOAs can be found at**
*New!* While the primary resource for technical directions when completing an application is NIH’s How To Apply – Application Guide, researchers may further benefit from seeing well-written examples from top-scoring applications. NIAID recently added three new Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31) fellowship applications and summary statements.
The NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences encourages submission of proposals to its core programs focused on IMAGiNE: Integrating Mechanisms of Adaptation with Genes in Networks and across Environments for integrated studies that will investigate how genomes, phenomes, and the environment interact to influence the development, expression and evolution of complex traits.
*New!* The American Psychological Foundation invites applications to conduct Investigations of Serious Emotional Disturbance supporting early career psychologists conducting research in the area of early intervention and treatment for serious emotional disturbance in children. Applications due March 15, 2020.
This Request for Information (NOT-OD-20-064) invites comments and suggestions on a framework for the NIH-wide strategic plan for FYs 2021-2025. Responses due March 25, 2020
*New!* The Templeton Foundation invites applications to its Academic Cross-Training Fellowship Program supporting recently tenured philosophers and theologians for up to 33 months of systematic and sustained courses of study in an empirical science such as physics, psychology, biology, genetics, cognitive science, neuroscience, or sociology. Letters of intent due May 1, 2020. Applications due July 13, 2020.
The NINDS solicits U54 proposals (RFA-NS-20-016) for the development and initial clinical validation of objective biological measures to be used for prognosing, and monitoring recovery of adolescents who either clinically present with or are at risk for developing prolonged/persistent concussive symptoms following exposure to repetitive head impacts and/or concussion. Applications due June 26, 2020.

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