April 1, 2019

UMD News

Scientists know that birds are exceptionally good at creating neural maps to chart the location of sounds, and they know that this strategy differs for mammals. However, little was known about how alligators process where a sound is coming from.

Now, a new study of American alligators has found that these reptiles form neural maps of sound in the same way birds do. The research by Catherine Carr, a Distinguished University Professor of Biology at the University of Maryland, and her colleague Lutz Kettler from the Technische Universität München, was recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


The brain’s grid cells, which function as a sort of map to help one make sense of their surroundings, were previously thought to be rather rigid. However, a pair of recent studies shows that these grid cells are in fact more plastic than expected. They are subject to the influence of reward, changing based upon the goals within the environment.
Researchers have found that brain stem cells in people with the most severe form of multiple sclerosis look much older than they really are. The culprit is inflamed and degenerating insulation around the nerves, the lack of which causes prematurely old cells to act differently in the brain. Ultimately, this finding could be a key to new treatments for MS.
A slowdown in image processing speeds up our perception of time's passage as we age. As tangled webs of nerves and neurons mature, they grow in size and complexity, leading to longer paths for signals to traverse. As those paths age they also degrade, giving more resistance to the flow of electrical signals.
For the first time in humans, an imaging study shows that time maps exist in a particular area of the brain, the supplementary motor area (SMA), a region of the cerebral cortex important for both motor preparation and time perception. The study explains that distinct portions of the SMA respond preferentially to different durations.
Researchers have found that pairing music with certain pain medications offers a promising strategy for treating pain. In particular, supplementing ibuprofen with music improved analgesic outcomes by more than 90 percent, while other music-medication pairings reduced inflammation by up to 70 percent.
In this video lecture, Dr. Alan Leshner, the former Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, discusses the growing body of evidence about what works in science communication, especially in complex domains like complementary and integrative health. He discusses how to align your communication strategy with your goal, how to use storytelling as a tool, and how to understand your audience’s core values.

Today! BBI Seed Grant Program

Reminder: Proposals for the FY19 Seed Grant Program are due today, Monday, April 1.

Submission instructions can be found here. Please feel free to consult our Frequently Asked Questions or to email us at

Calendar of Events

Cognitive Science Colloquium
Speaker: Kevin Ochsner (Columbia)
Title: "Evolving perspectives on emotion, emotion regulation and their social context"
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2019
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: 1103 Bioscience Research Building
More info

BBI-Kavli Distinguished Lecture
Speaker: Gina Turrigiano (Brandeis)
Title: "Self-tuning neurons and firing rate homeostasis in neocortical circuits"
Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: 1103 Bioscience Research Building
More info

Notable Conferences, Workshops, & Webinars

Maryland Neuroimaging Retreat
April 9, 2019
Baltimore, MD

Successful Fulbright Applications
April 11, 2019, 3:00 p.m.
1125 H. J. Patterson 
Registration (email Joe Scholten)

5th Annual BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting
April 11-13, 2019
Washington, DC

Behaviour 2019
July 23-27, 2019
Chicago, IL

Funding Announcements

Neuropathological Assessment of TBI-related Neurodegeneration and Neurocognitive decline - Center Without Walls (NATBI CWOW) (U54 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (RFA-NS-19-030); National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; National Institute on Aging. Due April 15, 2019.

NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award (F99/K00) (RFA-NS-19-011). Application Receipt Date(s): December 13, 2018; April 15, 2019; December 13, 2019; April 15, 2020; December 15, 2020; April 15, 2021, by 5:00 p.m. local time of applicant organization.

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. Applications are due May 15, 2019.

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

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

NIH Director's Early Independence Awards (DP5 Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-RM-19-008) supports exceptional 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. Application due September 13, 2019.

NIH Director's Transformative Research Awards (R01 Clinical Trial Optional) (RFA-RM-19-007) supports 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.

Connect with us on social media