July 1, 2019


Scientists trying to identify the neurons responsible for the decision to quit watched zebrafishs' brain activity patterns as they struggled. The clearest signal wasn’t coming from neurons, however. Rather, the cells that sprang into action just before the zebrafish called it quits were actually glia, long thought to play a supporting role in the brain.
Researchers have developed a machine learning algorithm that can be used to measure how well a student understands a concept based on the student's brain activity patterns. The study is one of the first to look at how knowledge learned in school is represented in the brain.
Most of what scientists know about the potential prevalence and consequences of mild traumatic brain injury has come from studying contact sports, especially football, but as many as 31 million women might have had a T.B.I. and 21 million might have had multiple mild ones.
While similar organ chips have been created before, what sets apart this new blood-brain barrier chip is its use of stem cell technology combined with advanced chip engineering. The cells, derived in this case from blood samples, make it possible to produce a living model of anyone’s unique BBB on demand.
In a proof-of-concept study, spoken language patterns predicted with 93% accuracy which people at risk for psychosis would progress to full psychosis within two years. Samples from those who progressed to psychosis had lower semantic density than those from a large database of normal language.
A large study of mouse neurons’ three-dimensional shape reveals new rules of brain architecture and neuron diversity. The study is part of a larger effort to discover the brain’s “periodic table” through large-scale explorations of brain cell types.

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Funding Announcements

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

Digital Health Technologies to Address the Social Determinants of Health in context of Substance Use Disorders
 (R41/R42 Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-DA-20-017); (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-DA-20-018). Application due: July 29, 2019.

Rapid Assessment of Drug Abuse: Smart City Tools. (R41/R42 - Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-DA-20-020); (R43/R44 - Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-DA-20-021). Applications due: August 7, 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.

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.

Exploratory Clinical Neuroscience Research on Substance Use Disorders. (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Optional) (PAR-19-282) Application due: October 10, 2019; July 10, 2020; March 10, 2021; October 13, 2021; July 11, 2022; March 10, 2023.

PrEP for HIV Prevention among Substance Using Populations. (R01 Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-DA-20-013). Application due: November 8, 2019.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) invites applications for Hearing Restoration Research Program’s Focused Program Awards to support promising research that will accelerate drug discovery and therapeutic development for hearing restoration or accelerate advances in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of auditory dysfunction. Application due: November 14, 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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