| ||Division of Intramural Research Programs - What’s New
Making its debut The new website for the National Institutes of Health/Karolinska Institutet Doctoral Program in Neuroscience has been launched. The website (http://intramural.nimh.nih.gov/ki-nih/) was designed as a recruitment tool for prospective students as well as a resource for current students. The goal of this program is to collaboratively train future leaders in neuroscience research by combining the substantial resources of these two leading institutions. The application deadline for next fall is January 3, 2012.
School is back in session! Special interest groups and seminar series resume
The Drosophila Neurobiology Interest Group, which is a consortium of NIH labs which use the powerful molecular tools available in fruit flies to address questions related to nervous system development, degeneration and function. The group hosts a biweekly Drosophila Neuroscience Colloquium on Fridays at noon (locations vary), which features informal seminars on current research projects and formal presentations from outside speakers. Discussions are continued over lunch in the Bldg 35 cafeteria. Please see the groupís website at http://sigs.nih.gov/DNIG/Pages/default.aspx or contact Ben White for more details
The Human Genetics Journal Club meets once a month usually at noon on Tuesdays in 35-1AB1000. Please contact Francis McMahon for more details and to get on the mailing list.
The Neurobiology Interest Group seeks to promote interaction between the Institutes and laboratories pursuing diverse approaches to the study of the nervous system. Areas of research interest include structural, molecular, cellular, developmental and systems neuroscience. The group meets most Fridays at 4 pm; please see http://sigs.nih.gov/neurobiology/Pages/default.aspx for more details. Of note, Septemberís seminars include talks by Jason Snyder in Heather Cameronís lab on Sept 2 and Cibu Thomas in Chris Bakerís lab on Sept 30.
The Synaptic and Developmental Plasticity Interest Group brings together neuroscientists representing such diverse areas as electrophysiology, systems neuroscience, and molecular and cell biology. The group sponsors the Synaptic Integration Seminar Series, organized by postdoctoral fellows from NICHD, NIDCD, NIMH, and NINDS. Seminars are held on Tuesdays or Wednesdays at 11am followed by pizza and engaging conversation with the speakers. For more information go to http://sigs.nih.gov/sdpig/Pages/default.aspx
The Brain and Behavior Research Fund (formally NARSAD) is a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to increase private funding of highly innovative research and to nurture the development of scientific talent. The NARSAD Young Investigator Grant provides support for the most promising young scientists conducting neurobiological research. One and two year awards up to $30,000 per year are provided to enable promising investigators to either extend research fellowship training or begin careers as independent research faculty. Research projects can be either basic or clinical but must be relevant to serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or child and adolescent psychiatric disorders. The 2012 Young Investigator Award information and application can be found at http://www.narsad.org/?q=node/124/apply_for_grants/124; applications must be received by September 15, 2011. Please note: the application must include additional forms and several signatures; please email Margarita Valencia for more details.
Genome-wide high-throughput RNAi screens
The Clinical Center has released the FY 2012 call for Bench-to-Bedside Proposals. These two-year awards are designed to seed new projects that propose to translate basic science to human subjects. Bench-to-bedside proposals can fall into one of six categories: behavioral and social sciences, rare diseases, AIDS, minority health and health disparities, womenís health, and general projects. Although projects can be exclusively among intramural investigators, collaborations between intramural and extramural investigators are encouraged. The extramural investigator must have a current NIH grant related closely to the general subject of the bench-to-bedside proposal to receive bench-to-bedside funds. Extramural investigators are also invited to initiate proposals and serve as project leaders with an intramural partner. The intramural partner will be responsible for coordination of all aspects of proposal submissions. The Bench-to-Bedside Program uses an electronic venue (proposalCentral) to aid investigators in submitting a letter of intent and in collaborating online with the project leader on developing a proposal for submission. A letter of intent must be submitted by Wednesday, September 28, 2011. Additional information is available on the web at http://www.cc.nih.gov/ccc/btb/awards.shtml or by email to BenchtoBedside@mail.nih.gov or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/NIHClinicalCenter?feature=mhee#p/u/3/VedJPStjw_k
Genome-wide high-throughput RNAi screens
The Office on Intramural Research is pleased to announce the FY 2012 NIH Directorís Challenge Innovation Awards program. The program provides seed money to stimulate innovative, high-impact research, and promotes collaborative interactions among NIH intramural investigators.
For FY 2012, the program will have two application cycles. We are now requesting applications for one-year proposals that utilize genome-wide high-throughput RNAi screens. These screens will be conducted in collaboration with the trans-NIH RNAi facility, which is a component of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center. A second call for proposals, that will emphasize other research areas, will be announced at a later date. Letters of Intent for RNAi proposals are due on Friday, September 23, and full proposals will be due on Friday, October 28 online at https://proposalcentral.altum.com. For more information, go to the programís website at http://sigs.nih.gov/challenge or contact Dr. Chuck Dearolf, Assistant Director for Intramural Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clinical applications of stem cells
The NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine (NIH CRM) Award Program announces its FY 2012 request for applications (RFA). This is the 3rd cycle of funding for these awards, which are designed to seed new projects that propose to clinically translate stem cell technology. The goal is to support projects that accelerate clinical applications of adult and pluripotent stem cells, and/or initiate new approaches for the use of stem cells in the clinic. The following three project types will be considered:
Engineering adult stem cells or pluripotent stem cells to correct a genetic defect that could potentially be used in a clinical therapy
Screening with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) or their differentiated cells for therapeutic applications
Development of cells for therapeutic purposes
Applicants may request funds for one or two years, with a maximum of $250,000 total. The application process includes the submission of two sets of material. First, a Letter of Intent (LOI) is due September 23, which is a succinct summary of the project and its significance. The appropriate Scientific Director and the Director of the NIH CRM will review each LOI, and the applicant will be notified by email whether it has been approved for submission of a full application. Investigators who receive LOI approval can submit afull application by midnight on Friday, October 28. Details of the LOI and full application submission process are contained in the attached RFA. All submissions will be made using https://proposalcentral.altum.com/. For questions or concerns, please contact Scott Lipnick, NIH CRM, at (301)496-6798 or email@example.com.
A special panel discussion
The National Mental Health Advisory Council has asked the NIMH Board of Scientific Counselors to update them on the state of the IRP. The Council meeting on Sept 23 (8:30am-12:30pm at the Neuroscience Center on 6001 Executive Blvd) will include a discussion with the BSC about the IRP and the recommendations for the IRP presented by Blue Ribbon Panel in its report entitled "Something Special" in 2007. The meeting is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend.
The punchline- A new study from Heather Cameronís lab published in Nature this month indicates that new neurons growing in adult hippocampus help buffer the effects of stress. Previous research has suggested that the growth of new neurons, or neurogenesis, in adults is involved in recovery from depression. The results from this study suggest that the loss of these new neurons plays a role in the development of depression and implicate the stress response as the link between neurogenesis and depression.
How they got there- Glucocorticoids are released in response to stressful experiences and serve many beneficial homeostatic functions. However, dysregulation of glucocorticoids is associated with cognitive impairments and depressive illness. In the hippocampus, a brain region densely populated with receptors for stress hormones, stress and glucocorticoids strongly inhibit adult neurogenesis. Decreased neurogenesis has been implicated in the pathogenesis of anxiety and depression, but direct evidence for this role is lacking. In this report, the investigators show that adult-born hippocampal neurons are required for normal expression of the endocrine and behavioural components of the stress response. Using either transgenic or radiation methods to inhibit adult neurogenesis specifically, they found that glucocorticoid levels are slower to recover after moderate stress and are less suppressed by dexamethasone in neurogenesis-deficient mice than intact mice, consistent with a role for the hippocampus in regulation of the hypothalamicĖpituitaryĖadrenal (HPA) axis. As compared to controls, neurogenesis-deficient mice also showed increased food avoidance in a novel environment after acute stress, increased behavioral despair in the forced swim test, and decreased sucrose preference, a measure of depressive-like behavior. These findings identify a small subset of neurons within the dentate gyrus that are critical for hippocampal negative control of the HPA axis and support a direct role for adult neurogenesis in depressive illness.