May 20, 2019


Despite advances in brain imaging, it is still through behavior--and fundamentally through language--that we assess mental health. Now AI models can pick up subtle alterations in linguistic and vocal attributes of spoken language that may be indicative of failing health. Whereas companies like Google and Facebook use language processing to evaluate our social media interactions in order to personalize ads, this tool has yet to be harnessed for medical applications.
Recent findings of large-scale systems in the brain could improve understanding about the symptoms and causes of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and other mental illnesses. The functional magnetic resonance imaging data is based on connectomics, an approach whose whole-system perspective differs from most research into the biological foundations of psychiatric conditions.
Virtual Reality Therapy goes beyond simple distraction of the kind that might result from merely watching television. Rather, VRT totally immerses the patient in an entertaining, relaxing, interactive environment that so occupies the brain that it has no room to process pain sensations at the same time. VRT is like an endogenous narcotic providing a physiological and chemical burst that causes one to feel good; the multisensory experience engages a person’s attention on a much deeper level.
This footage, captured using light sheet microscopy over a 16-hour period, shows the development of sensory neurons in zebrafish. Genetic modification of zebrafish embryos promotes the expression of a green fluorescent protein, enabling scientists to observe and track their rapid neuronal development. Importantly, these transparent zebrafish embryos grow rapidly and can develop outside of their mother.
In a study involving almost 50,000 subjects, researchers explored for the first time how creative activities can help us manage our mood and boost well-being. They found that even the briefest time spent on a creative pastime such as painting, pottery, or playing the piano has an impact on our emotions. This study is the first to show the cognitive strategies that the brain uses to regulate our emotions when taking part in creative activities.
Peer review helps others, of course, but being a peer reviewer also benefits yourself: the insights you gain as a reviewer will likely aid you as an applicant, since you get a look at what your peers want to see in an outstanding and well-written application. Moreover, serving as a reviewer offers career development opportunities: you not only gain practical experience but also work with highly respected investigators in your field. Peer review is a valuable networking opportunity.

Calendar of Events

Managing Your Research Program Seminar Series
Speaker: Toni Pollin (UM SoM)
Title: "Setting Up Collaborations"
Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: 621 W. Lombard Street, SMC Campus Center, Room 351
More info

Funding Announcements

Listed in order of deadline; no new FOAs this week:

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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