The purpose of this Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative Funding Opportunity Announcement is to encourage applications that will develop and validate novel tools to facilitate the detailed analysis and manipulation of complex circuits in large brains. Critical advances in the treatment of brain disorders in human populations are hindered by our lack of ability to monitor and manipulate circuitry in safe, minimally-invasive ways. Clinical intervention with novel cell- and circuit-specific tools will require extensive focused research designed to remove barriers for targeted circuit manipulation. In addition to identification and removal of barriers, the need to delineate dysfunctional circuitry poses additional challenges. Neuroscience has experienced an impressive influx of exciting new research tools in the past decade, especially since the launch of the BRAIN Initiative. However, the majority of these cell- and circuit-specific mapping, monitoring, and manipulating tools has been developed for use in model organisms, primarily rodents, fish and flies. These cutting-edge tools are increasingly adaptable to larger mammalian brains and, more importantly, are emerging as potential human therapeutic strategies for brain disorders. A pressing need to develop tools for use in large brains or those that are more directly relevant to the human brain is the focus of this initiative. The initiative will support initial proof of principle studies aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of using the cutting-edge approaches in humans and other mammalian species (e.g., non-human primate [NHP]/sheep/pigs).
Since 2014, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative has aimed to accelerate the development and application of innovative neurotechnologies, enabling researchers to produce a new dynamic picture of the brain that reveals how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. It is expected that these advances will ultimately lead to new ways to treat and prevent brain disorders.
As one of several federal agencies involved in the BRAIN Initiative, NIH’s contributions to the BRAIN initiative were initially guided by “BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision,” a strategic plan that detailed seven high-priority research areas. This plan was updated and enhanced in 2019 by: “The BRAIN Initiative 2.0: From Cells to Circuits, Toward Cures” and “The BRAIN Initiative and Neuroethics: Enabling and Enhancing Neuroscience Advances for Society.” This and other BRAIN Initiative Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) are based on this vision and issued with input from Advisory Councils of the 10 NIH Institutes and Centers supporting the BRAIN Initiative, as assisted by the NIH BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group.
The NIH BRAIN Initiative® recognizes that diverse teams working together and capitalizing on innovative ideas and distinct perspectives outperform homogeneous teams. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse scientific workforce, including: fostering scientific innovation, enhancing global competitiveness, contributing to robust learning environments, improving the quality of the research, advancing the likelihood that underserved populations participate in, and benefit from research, and enhancing public trust.
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Filed Under: Funding Opportunities