BRAIN and BEHAVIOR INITIATIVE WEEKLY DIGEST

June 3, 2019


News

Engineers have designed a scheme to let thousands of brain implants talk at up to 10 megabits per second. The 0.25-square-millimeter implants (“neurograins”) each consist of a chip capable of harvesting RF energy, which chip then powers an electrode that senses spikes of voltage from individual neurons as well as the wireless communications. An antenna set outside of the skull provides the RF power, transmits to the implants, and receives data from them.
Maternal stress during or after pregnancy has been repeatedly associated with subsequent psychiatric problems and non-coding ‘epigenetic’ DNA changes during childhood. However, animal studies suggest that prenatal stress leads to behavioral changes in offspring that could be adaptive in threatful environments. Such findings imply that, like other animals, humans can be primed via epigenetic changes to face the environment their mother experienced during pregnancy.
In both cell culture and a preliminary animal model, bacteria proved more sensitive to a combination of cranberry and antibiotic than to antibiotics alone. The combinations, which in every case incorporated proanthocyanidin (cPACs) derived from cranberries, appear to suppress two antibiotic resistance mechanisms: selective membrane permeability and multidrug efflux pumps. In other words, when cPACs are present, antibiotics check into bacteria, but they don’t check out.
In most industrialized countries, nearly 1% of children are born “very prematurely.” While advances in neonatal medicine now give them a good chance of survival, these children are at high risk of developing neuropsychological disorders. To help the brains of these fragile newborns develop, researchers propose an original solution: music written especially for them. And now medical imaging reveals that the neural networks of premature infants who have listened to this music are developing much better.
In the field of neuroscience, animal models are used to investigate the mechanisms that link brain structure, function, and behavior, with a broad goal of helping people who suffer from mental illness and neurological disease. But knowingly or not, the field has largely regarded as unequal the inherent value of studying the female versus male brain. This imbalance is rooted in the erroneous belief that circulating ovarian hormones make data from female animals messier and more variable than data from males.
Since the early 2000s, improved hardware and advances in experimental and theoretical neuroscience have enabled researchers to create ever larger and more-detailed models of the brain. However, the more complex these simulations get, the more they run into the limitations of conventional computer hardware. Now, computer chips based on biological neurons, or neuromorphic chips, might replicate the architecture of the brain and may help simulate larger and more-complex brain models.

NINDS Request for Information

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is soliciting input on enhancing neuroscience research at institutions with emerging neuroscience programs.

In recent years, an explosion in advanced neurotechnology has led to exciting new discoveries and advances in neuroscience. It has also led to a widening technology gap between leading neuroscience institutions, and institutions with emerging neuroscience programs. These advances in sophisticated approaches, technologies and instrumentation for neuroscience research have increased the need for cost-effective access to these resources through shared core facilities to enhance the quality of science. NINDS is soliciting input from researchers, institutional leadership, science administrators, research or professional organizations, and other interested members of the neuroscience community, on improving access to research resources (technology, instruments and approaches) at institutions with emerging neuroscience programs.


Calendar of Events

Special BBI Seminar
Speaker: Anthony LaMantia (GWU)
Title: "Establishing cerebral cortical circuits for complex behaviors"
Date: Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: 0215 Edward St. John Center
More info

Special BBI Seminar
Speaker: Karen L. Bales (UC Davis)
Title: "Comparative and developmental neuroscience of social bonds"
Date: Thursday, June 6, 2019
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: 0201 Edward St. John Center
More info

Funding Announcements

New! The Administration for Community Living invites applications to establish and sustain a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Enhance Independence and Community Living for People with Cognitive Impairments. Application due: July 15, 2019.

New! Information Sharing System for State-Regulated Drug Compounding Activities (U01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (RFA-FD-19-025). Application due: July 17, 2019.

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.

New! 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.

New! 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.

New! 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.

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

New! 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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