Development of Novel Tools to Probe Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in Human and Non-Human Primate Brain (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional)

ISSUED BY: National Institutes of Health


The purpose of this Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is to encourage applications that will develop and validate novel tools to facilitate the detailed analysis and manipulation of complex circuits and provide insights into cellular interactions that underlie brain function. 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 to delivery of gene therapies. In addition to identification and removal of barriers, the need to specifically target 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 cutting edge tools have been developed for use in model organisms, primarily rodents, fish and flies. These cutting edge tools, such as viral delivery of genetic constructs, are increasingly adaptable to large 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, more directly relevant to the human brain is the focus of this initiative. The new tools and technologies should inform and/or exploit cell-type and/or circuit-level specificity. Plans for validating the utility of the tool/technology will be an essential feature of a successful application. The development of new genetic and non-genetic tools for delivering genes, proteins and chemicals to cells of interest or approaches that are expected to target specific cell types and/or circuits in the nervous system with greater precision and sensitivity than currently established methods are encouraged. Methods to track and monito

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August 3, 2018


August 3, 2018


September 28, 2020