June 17, 2019


More than one-fifth of people who work for the NIH and who responded to a survey by the agency have experienced some form of harassment during the last year. Of nearly 16,000 respondents, 10 percent reported that they had experienced unwanted sexual attention, while 18 percent said they had been subject to gender harassment. According to the head of NIH, "The report provides further evidence that we have work to do in order to make good on our determination that ‘harassment doesn’t work here.’"
Neuroscientists have now identified a brain circuit that can suppress distracting signals so that you can focus on your chosen input. The circuit they identified, which is controlled by the prefrontal cortex, filters out unwanted background noise or other distracting sensory stimuli. When this circuit is engaged, the prefrontal cortex selectively suppresses sensory input as it flows into the thalamus, the site where most sensory information enters the brain.
Medical schools have noticed a marked decline in the manual dexterity of students and residents. Some say it’s because of fewer hands-on courses in primary and secondary schools—shop class, home economics, drawing, painting and music. Others blame too much time spent tapping and swiping screens rather than doing things that develop fine motor control like woodworking, model building and needlework.
The idea of a science poster is simple: get some poster-making materials and then slap on a title, the experimental methods and the results. In this format, however, insights that could help humanity are buried in a jumbled mess that keeps them from being noticed by the right folks. But a new poster design format looks clean, almost empty.
Scientists have found that our brains are more sensitive to pitch—the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music—than our evolutionary relative the macaque monkey. The results raise the possibility that these sounds, which are embedded in speech and music, may have shaped the basic organization of the human brain.
Scientists have made a major advance in the development of human brain "organoids": miniature, 3D tissue cultures that model a patient’s own brain cells in a dish. Their new method consistently grows the same types of cells, in the same order, as the developing human cerebral cortex. The advance could change the way researchers study neuropsychiatric diseases and test the effectiveness of drugs.

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Funding Announcements

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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