May 13, 2019

BBI Announces Awards for FY19 Seed Grant Program

The proposals seeded by BBI in FY19 feature researchers from seven colleges and schools (AGNR, ARHU, BSOS, CMNS, EDUC, ENGR, and MAPP) as well as three UMD institutes or centers (ARLIS, ISR, and UMIACS).

Some of the challenges that this year’s project teams aim to treat are: aphasics’ struggles with word-finding, social disinclinations toward agricultural water reuse, difficulties in language comprehension among non-native speakers, the intransigence of bystanders during cases of bullying in middle school and high school, the deleterious effects of building design on mental health and well-being, and the gap in knowledge about how the brain’s molecular and genetic structures affect human beings upon loss-of-function (e.g. in cases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases). Please read more about each of these individual projects below.


The pathophysiology of the brains of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients is widely studied. So too are global expression changes revealed by bulk transcriptomic analyses. Now, for the first time, researchers have performed a comprehensive analysis of genes expressed in individual brain cells of patients with AD, identifying distinctive cellular pathways that are affected in neurons and other types of brain cells.
As we age, working memory fades because far-flung brain areas no longer fire in sync. Prior studies have demonstrated that reduced working memory in elderly people is related to uncoupled activity in separate brain areas, but in a new study, researchers used jolts of weak electrical stimulation to recouple these areas. They applied current to the scalp to synchronize waves in the prefrontal and temporal cortex, resulting in a boost to working memory.
A team of international scientists has defined a new type of dementia that closely mimics the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The disease has been named “LATE,” which stands for, “Limbic-predominant Age-related TDP-43 Encephalopathy.” LATE affects multiple areas of cognition, including memory trouble and dementia, and impairs activities of daily life. The identification of LATE provides a starting point for further research that can advance scientists' understanding of late-life brain changes.
Scientists used brain signals recorded from patients with epilepsy to program a computer to mimic natural speech. They first recorded signals from the brain area that produces language while participants read hundreds of sentences out loud. Using this data, the team then mapped out the vocal movements the participants used to make the different sounds, including how they moved their lips, tongue, jaw, and vocal cords. Next, the researchers programmed this information into a computer with machine-learning algorithms to decode the brain activity data and produce synthetic speech.
​Scientists have discovered a new method for quickly and efficiently mapping the vast network of connections among neurons in the brain using optical fibers and ultra-high-field MRIs. Traditionally, researchers have mapped these kinds of connections in the brain through a laborious process of injecting dyes directly into the brain and reconstructing the connections post-mortem--a slow, expensive, time-consuming process. However, the new method allows for systematic, large-scale study of connection patterns within single individuals repeatedly and efficiently.
At the British Neuroscience Association's Festival of Neuroscience 2019, Dr Verena Heise of the BNA's credibility board gave an interview about credibility in neuroscience, how she became involved in promoting it, and how other players in research can help advance the credibility cause. Questions include, "What is credibility in science?", "How can journals get involved with promoting credibility?", and "What advice would you give to those wanting to getting involved with credibility initiatives?"
The Advisory Committee to the NIH Director BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0 will share its thoughts on the current state of the BRAIN Initiative following a 30-day public comment period. Their report will cover opportunities for keeping pace with the evolving scientific landscape, including the identification of new opportunities for research and technology development, within a solid ethical framework to ensure that BRAIN Initiative research is of the utmost value to the public. To this end, the NIH is soliciting input from all interested stakeholders.
The BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative Alliance is excited to announce a new partnership with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Brain Initiative. BIA and IEEE have overlapping missions that will benefit from this collaboration. Similar goals shared by both groups include the development of new neurotechnologies for enabling novel research methodologies and for improving neurological healthcare.
National Prevention Week (NPW), hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is May 12-19, 2019. This week is a time for youth-serving professionals, parents, and other caring adults to raise awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health.

Calendar of Events

No events this week

Funding Announcements

Listed in order of deadline; FOAs new this week are highlighted below:

Wildlife Acoustics invites applications for Bioacoustic Research Projects focused on using bioacoustics for data collection and/or analysis, advancing scientific knowledge, and contributing to long-term conservation efforts. One or more awards of up to $5,000 each may be made. Application due: May 15, 2019.

Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroSciences (BRAINS) is a national program funded by NIH NINDS that aims to increase the engagement and retention of early-career academic neuroscientists from underrepresented groups through cohort-based community development and access to tips, tools, and skills development. BRAINS is now accepting applications for the 2019 cohort. Application due: May 20, 2019.

Predoctoral Training in Advanced Data Analytics for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (BSSR) - Institutional Research Training Program [T32] (RFA-OD-19-011). Application due: May 25, 2019.

Alcohol and Other Substance Use Research Education Programs for Health Professionals (R25 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (PAR-19-207). Application due: May 25, 2019.

Soliciting Applications for the BRAIN Advanced Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity (K99/R00). Application due: June 12, 2019.

Next Generation Networks for Neuroscience (NeuroNex) (NSF 19-563). Preliminary proposal due: June 14, 2019; Full proposal due: December 13, 2019.

The Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology is an international research prize of $25,000. Since 2002, it has been awarded annually to one young scientist who is not older than 35 years for the most outstanding neurobiological research based on methods of molecular and cell biology. Application due: June 15, 2019.

Limited Competitions for Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study:
Linked Research Project Sites (Collaborative U01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (RFA-DA-20-002). Application due: July 24, 2019.
Data Analysis, Informatics and Resource Center (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (RFA-DA-20-003). Application due: July 24, 2019.
Coordinating Center (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (RFA-DA-20-004). Application due: July 24, 2019.

The Office of Strategic Coordination invites DP5 applications for NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards (RFA-RM-19-008) to support investigators who wish to pursue independent research essentially after completion of their terminal doctoral/research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training, thereby forgoing the traditional post-doctoral training period and accelerating their entry into an independent research career. Letter of intent due: August 13, 2019; applications due: September 13, 2019.

Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for BRAIN Initiative: Proof of Concept Development of Early Stage Next Generation Human Brain Imaging (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (NOT-EB-19-010). Estimated publication date of FOA: June 03, 2019. First estimated application due: September 03, 2019.

Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for BRAIN Initiative: Development of Next Generation Human Brain Imaging Tools and Technologies (U01 Clinical Trial not allowed) (NOT-EB-19-011). Estimated publication date of FOA: June 03, 2019. First estimated application due: September 03, 2019.

The American Psychological Foundation invites applications of its David H. And Beverly A. Barlow Grant to fund Research on Anxiety and Anxiety-Related Disorders conducted by a graduate student or early-career researcher. Application due: September 18, 2019.

NIH invites R01 applications for NIH Director’s Transformative Research Awards (RFA-RM-19-007) to fund individual scientists or groups of scientists proposing groundbreaking, exceptionally innovative, original, and/or unconventional research with the potential to create new scientific paradigms, establish entirely new and improved clinical approaches, or develop transformative technologies. Application due September 20, 2019.

The Maryland Catalyst Fund program – formerly known as the Faculty Incentive Program – is the University of Maryland’s internal faculty research support program and a key resource in the university’s overall effort to expand its research activity, visibility and impact. The program aims to enable innovative research, to incentivize the pursuit of large, complex, and high-impact research initiatives, and to increase our competitiveness for extramural research awards.

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