June 10, 2019

UMD News

"The long-term research goal is to understand how neuromodulatory transmitters such as noradrenaline and acetylcholine regulate neuronal activity in the brain [and] how different types of cellular regulation can influence odor-guided behaviors. But this eNeuro paper started with something very different..."
Much of what scientists know about how brain development in children is impaired by adverse early life experience comes from studies on Romanian orphans who suffered severe neglect in Communist Romania. The latest research tracking the neurological development of these children shows that disruptions in caregiving produce detrimental effects on a child’s brain function, evident by EEG analysis after children reached their teenage years. Moreover, improvements in brain electrical activity seen after orphans were removed from orphanages and placed into foster home care were reversed when foster care was interrupted.


For people whose spinal cords are injured in traumatic events, cell-based treatments have emerged as a potential avenue for encouraging healing. Now, taking advantage of advances in 3D printing technology, researchers have created customized implants that may boost the power of cell-based therapies for repairing injured spinal cords. Left on their own, neural cells tend to grow haphazardly, but the 3D-printed implant is engineered to act as a scaffold, keeping new cells directed toward the goal of patching up the injured part of the spinal cord.
This colorful image shows the entire olfactory epithelium, or “smell center,” (green) inside the nasal cavity of a newborn mouse. The olfactory epithelium drapes over the interior walls of the nasal cavity and its curvy bony parts (red), and every cell in the nose contains DNA (blue). But this is more than just a cool image: it also shows a new type of progenitor cell that has the capacity to generate the entire smell center. Progenitor cells are made by stem cells, but they are capable of multiplying and producing various cells of a particular lineage that serve as the workforce for specialized tissues, such as the olfactory epithelium.
While brain surgery can halt seizures, it carries significant risks, including an impairment in visual perception. Now, a new study shows that children can keep full visual perception—the ability to process and understand visual information—after brain surgery for severe epilepsy. The study of suggests that the lasting effects of surgery on visual perception can be minimal even among children who lost tissue in the brain’s visual centers.
Implantable optical devices that target neurons can be improved using miniature coils smaller than a grain of rice using optogenetic technology. Scientists can propagate pulses of light using the method to turn protein expression on or off in genetically modified neurons.
A new study provides strong evidence that a certain region of the brain plays a critical role in memory recall, showing for the first time that using an electrical current to stimulate the left rostrolateral prefrontal cortex improves people’s ability to retrieve memories.
Below is a list of 50 universities (including medical schools), research institutions, and teaching hospitals ranked by the amount of NIH funding they received during the current 2019 federal fiscal year, through May 27. 

Calendar of Events

Special BBI Seminar
Speaker: Matteo Carandini (UCL)
Title: "Brain networks for engagement, vision, choice, and action"
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2019
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: 1103 Bioscience Research Building
More info

Funding Announcements

New! The National Endowment for the Arts is soliciting applications to establish new NEA Research Labs. Specifically, the NEA seeks research in the following areas: (1) The Arts, Health, and Social/Emotional Well-Being, (2) The Arts, Creativity, Cognition, and Learning, and (3) The Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Application due: July 15, 2019

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.

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.
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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