Welcome to the August Clinical and Translational Neuroscience newsletter, this month we update you on some upcoming BRAIN Initiative funding opportunities that have been renewed, exciting grants that have been awarded to some of the neuroscience faculty on campus, and let you know about upcoming neuroscience events. Please visit our program area pages of the IHSI website for the latest news and grant opportunities. And as always, if you have an item to share with the neuroscience community at Illinois, we would be happy to feature it. Items can be submitted to Gillian Cooke, IHSI research development manager.
NIH to Reissue BRAIN Initiative Funding | Get Your Team Together Now!
The NIH has issued a notice to encourage investigators with expertise and insights in the area of noninvasive human brain imaging technologies and methods to begin to consider applying for these upcoming FOA renewals. The Development of Next Generation Human Brain Imaging Tools and Technologies and the Proof of Concept Development of Early Stage Next Generation Human Brain Imaging are expected to be reissued in September 2017, with an expected application due date in Winter 2017.
While both funding opportunities fall under the same initiative, there are subtle differences between each call that may influence your decision about which one to apply for. For example, the Development of Next Generation Human Brain Imaging Tools and Technologies solicits applications proposing full development for next generation human brain imaging and breakthrough technologies that would overcome existing barriers. If developed, such technologies would enable imaging and measuring brain processes in ways that are currently unachievable, thereby acquiring fundamental novel insight about how the human brain is organized and functions. This FOA will provide the needed resources to support teams to meet the grand challenges of developing novel and transformative interdisciplinary approaches to human brain imaging. The intended outcome is bold, high-impact, and disruptive tools and methods for human neuroscience that can be used practically and ethically in healthy humans irrespective of disease state.
While the Proof of Concept Development of Early Stage Next Generation Human Brain Imaging solicits unusually bold and potentially transformative approaches and supports small scale, proof of concept development of human brain imaging based on exceptionally innovative, original and/or unconventional concepts. The goal is to accelerate early stage development of promising and entirely new concepts that require some initial stage of development and testing before launching into full scale tool development. Applications submitted in response to this FOA should focus on innovative approaches and proof of principle initial stage development for breakthrough, noninvasive imaging technology to measure human brain processes in ways that are currently unachievable via imaging technologies in live persons. The proposed concepts and approaches are expected to be high-risk, high-impact, and disruptive.
As always, you can check in on the IHSI Grants Blog for updated opportunities. Don’t forget, if you are looking for a partner to develop a research proposal with, reach out to Gillian Cooke for some assistance!
Nominate Your Outstanding Mentor Now | Closes December 15, 2017
To recognize the contributions and importance of outstanding mentors, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has established the NINDS Landis Mentorship Award. This new annual award is named in honor of former NINDS Director Dr. Story Landis. An extraordinary individual mentor, Dr. Landis generously provided her time and energy to support countless scientific investigators as they navigated the professional landscape of biomedical research. Selection for this new award will be based on nomination from those who have first-hand knowledge of an individual’s outstanding mentorship. Current or former trainees can nominate faculty members who have served as their mentors. Faculty members nominated by two or more mentees will then be invited to submit additional information needed for the selection process. Eligible individuals for this award must be in a tenure-track or equivalent faculty position and hold an active NINDS R01, R35, or P01 with at least one year left on their grant at the time of award.
The full details of the award, and the selection process, can be found at Landis Mentor Award.
Because outstanding mentors exist at each career stage, and have different levels of mentorship accomplishments, NINDS will rotate eligibility requirements each year. In the first 3 years (FY2018, 2019, 2020), NINDS will seek nominations for junior faculty mentors (in the 5th – 12th year from the start of their first tenure track or equivalent position), mid-career mentors (in the 13th – 20th year from the start of their first tenure-track or equivalent position), and senior faculty mentors (>20 years from their first tenure-track or equivalent position), respectively. NINDS will select awardees from among the nominated individuals who conduct outstanding, rigorous research and have shown a dedication to superior mentorship and training.
With this notice, NINDS invites nominations of outstanding mentors who are 5 to 12 years from the start of their first tenure-track or equivalent faculty positions. Although these nominees will not have an extensive track record of mentorship, they will have, at the earliest stage of their independent research careers, demonstrated a dedication to helping trainees towards their goal of becoming exceptional, successful, independent scientists. By making mentorship awards to these individuals, NINDS intends to send a strong message that it recognizes the time and effort they have dedicated to the careers of others and to their active training of individuals to conduct outstanding, rigorous, high-impact research. This award is meant to encourage junior faculty to dedicate themselves to strong mentorship and training of others, in addition to their own research productivity, and to encourage institutional leaders to place a high value on training and mentorship by its faculty.
Visit the NINDS website for more information and to nominate a mentor.
Understanding the Brain | Students to Benefit from $3M NSF Grant
The primary goal of this interdisciplinary graduate student training program is to provide students with an immersive research experience that blends techniques from multiple disciplines to better understand the many aspects of the human body’s most complex organ.
The program will teach students to use and understand miniature brain machinery critical to examining and regulating brain activities. It’s also designed to increase the participation of women, underrepresented minorities, and students with disabilities in the field of brain science. In addition, an important goal is to improve scientists’ communication skills with the public.
“This is a training initiative between neuroscience and engineering. It’s building on some of the new technologies in engineering, but it’s focused on better understanding the brain,” Martha Gillette, lead co-principal investigator, said. “It’s exciting because it’s going to let us do new things and train graduate students in new ways.”
Students will come from several departments across campus, including neuroscience, cell and developmental biology, molecular and integrative physiology, chemistry, psychology, chemical and biomolecular engineering, bioengineering, and electrical and computer engineering. The training program will bridge two research paradigms about the brain: cognitive and behavioral studies, including the use of bioimaging and computational tools to understand adaptation, decision-making, psychology, and learning of an individual; and cell and tissue studies, with a focus on altering cell activity through a variety of methods.
To meet these goals, the program will guide graduate students through specialized courses to broaden their knowledge beyond their own specific fields. Training courses will address behavior and the development of the nervous system as well as engineering, biological, and psychological perspectives on how brain activity can be modified.
While the funding mainly contributes to a training program for graduate students, the project also has a research component. Gillette expects the project to advance a relatively new field of study regarding how, through cross-talking, groups of cells behave differently than the entity that they’re part of.
“The idea of using these self-organizing neuron preparations is new,” Gillette said. “It’s new enough that over the five years of the grant and training period, it will really develop a lot, especially with the technologies we have.”
Read the full story.
Collaborations in Health, Aging, Research, and Technology Program | Submit Now
CHART has a unique opportunity to partner with Clark-Lindsey Village again this fall to engage their residents in research on technologies to be used in the home environment for older adults. A furnished apartment will be available as a research facility for University of Illinois faculty during the fall semester.
The goal of the CHART Pilot Grant Program is to support research focused on design, development, and deployment of technologies that will be used by older adults. Residents of Clark-Lindsey can be recruited to assist with your research (according to approved IRB protocols). The research will be conducted at Clark-Lindsey Village.
SUPPORT PROVIDED: The total project period for an application submitted in response to this funding opportunity may not exceed three (3) months (Sept 16 – Dec15). Total costs are limited to $5,000.
RESEARCH AND OUTREACH
Health in Smart Urban Environment | Register Now
The Global Issues Forum: Health in Smart Urban Environments will be held at the Beckman Institute on September 21 and 22, 2017. The goal of this forum is to capitalize on the interdisciplinary strengths of National Taiwan University (NTU) and the University of Illinois to collaborate in addressing the challenges created by rapid global urbanization. The Forum is organized around 6 themes:
- Air and Water Quality
- Healthy Aging in Urban Environments
- Built Environment and Health
- Urban Agriculture and Food Security
- Bio-Medical and Cancer Research
- Mobility and Autonomous / Connected Vehicles
With several breakout sessions, keynotes, and panel sessions, this forum will prove to be a highlight of the fall semester.
Big Neuroscience Data Analytic Workshop | Closes December 15, 2017
Hosted at Indiana University Bloomington, Big Neuroscience Data Analytic Workshop will take place from September 8-9, 2017. Students, trainees, fellows, junior investigators, and outside researchers in Midwest academic institutions and industry partners are invited to attend and actively participate in this workshop. Expected workshop outcomes include (1) building an active Midwest Neuroscience Network Community, (2) open-sharing of data-intense challenges, datasets, research projects, expertise, software, services, protocols, resources, learning modules, and (3) productive discussions of joint (multi-institutional) grants, training opportunities, publications, research projects. The workshop success will be measured by assessing the community involvement (early registration, active workshop participation, post-workshop activities, and interactions), website analytics (geographic locations of income traffic, counts, frequencies, and intensity of NeuroscienceNetwork.org website utilization), and evidence of collaborations on development of software tools, services, learning materials, end-to-end pipeline workflows.
Neuroscience Program Seminar Series Kicks Off | Mark Your Calendars
The fall semester Neuroscience Program seminar series kicks off on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. Su-Chun Zhang, University of Wisconsin-Madison, will give his talk “Human stem cells and neural regeneration.”
Zhang’s lab addresses how functionally diversified neuronal and glial subtypes are born in the making of our human brain. They have developed models of neural differentiation from mouse, monkey, and human pluripotent stem cells, including embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. In these in vitro models, neural differentiation recapitulates key events that occur in early embryo development, including induction of multipotential neuroepithelial cells that form neural tube-like structures, patterning of region-specific neural progenitors, and generation of neurons and glia with particular transmitter or functional phenotypes. In parallel, they are building transgenic human stem cell lines with regulatable gene expression. Together, they are dissecting biochemical interactions underlying the cellular differentiation processes under defined conditions. Such studies will hopefully bridge what we have learned from animal studies to human biology.
Other September seminars include:
- September 12: Stephanie Ceman, "Of mice and frogs: Unraveling translation regulation by the fragile X mental retardation protein Fmrp"
- September 19: Ken Mackie, "THC, GPR119, and the metabolic syndrome"
- September 26: Daniel Minor, "Ion channel chemical biology: Driving a wedge into the heart of an ion channel"
IMPORTANT DATES AND DEADLINES
- Big Neuroscience Data Analytics Workshop: September 8, 2017
- CHART: September 8, 2017
- Mobile Cognition Letter of Intent: October 2, 2017; Full Application: November 2, 2017
- NCI Application Deadlines: October 10, 2017; April 11, 2018; October 10, 2018; April 11, 2019
- NSF DARE Application Deadline: October 20, 2017
Please email Gillian Cooke, IHSI research development manager, with your calendar item or announcement to share with the clinical and translational neuroscience community at Illinois.