Funding News for Current and Future NIMH Awardees • Autumn 2010 Edition
Autumn 2010 Table of Contents
Inside NIMH is produced by the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information about the Institute, visit our website at http://www.nimh.nih.gov. For comments and suggestions about Inside NIMH, please contact the NIMH Webmaster. The material in this newsletter is not copyrighted, and we encourage its use or reprinting.
Welcome to the autumn 2010 edition of Inside NIMH. This edition of the newsletter discusses innovative and evolving trans-NIH and NIMH-specific initiatives and programs, as well as initiatives the Institute is considering for the future. We e-publish Inside NIMH after each meeting of the National Mental Health Advisory Council. In addition, check out the Director’s blog on our website (www.nimh.nih.gov) for weekly updates on timely topics at NIMH. I hope you find this information interesting and helpful. Please let us know if you have questions or comments on this edition.
I. Message from the NIMH Director
As we enter the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2011, I would like to briefly discuss a few matters related to the NIMH budget. As I mentioned in the previous edition, the FY 2011 President’s Budget Request is $1.540 billion for NIMH. Over the summer, both houses of Congress reviewed the President’s Budget Request; however, the House and Senate proposals have not yet been reconciled. Until the budget proposals are reconciled and finalized through signature of the President, NIMH will operate at FY 2010 levels by means of a Continuing Resolution. During the Continuing Resolution, we will issue non-competing research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Grant Award (generally up to 90 percent of the previously committed level). As in previous Continuing Resolutions, we look forward to upward adjustments after the final appropriation is enacted later in the year.
What should you expect for FY 2011? Two variables will determine success rates (success rate = number of grants funded/number of applications). First, we do not know what the final budget will be. Congress could use the reconciliation process to lower NIH funding levels below the President’s Budget Request. We are assuming a 3.2 percent increase (see Table 1), which would allow NIMH to fund approximately 1,540 new applications, but this may prove to be overly optimistic (note that FY 2010 amounts have been adjusted to reflect budgetary transfers between NIMH and NIH/the Department of Health and Human Services). Second, we do not know how many new applications will be submitted. We have not seen the expected flood of applications following funding of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA). But we expect this wave to hit late in FY 2011 (see Chart 1, which projects 3,146 applications) with a consequent drop from the FY 2010 success rates (see Table 2).
New and Notable
Several large-scale projects have been launched this past year, either with ARRA funding or NIMH base support:
Among the Institute’s most recently funded projects that exemplify our efforts to accelerate mental health research and to advance the NIMH Strategic Plan:
Perhaps no topic has received as much attention as innovation. High-risk, high-yield science has been a priority for funding at NIH and NIMH. The NIH Director’s Pioneer Award and New Innovator Award have used Common Fund dollars, supplemented by NIMH investments, to support extraordinarily innovative research, with several success stories emerging over this past summer. The annual Pioneer symposium last week included presentations from Pioneer Awardees Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. (Stanford University), Giulio Tononi, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical Center), Hollis Cline, Ph.D. (Scripps Research Institute), Erich Jarvis, Ph.D. (Duke University Medical School), and Leda Cosmides, Ph.D. (University of California, Santa Barbara). In addition, the Institute has funded five grants through the Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration (EUREKA) program, which NIH re-released in FY 2010. These five-year awards are designed to support unconventional, high-risk projects that promise, if successful, to have a transformational impact on their field. The rationale for EUREKA is that for science to move forward in leaps rather than in incremental steps, investigators must have opportunities to test unconventional, potentially paradigm-shifting hypotheses, and to attempt to use original approaches to solve difficult technical and conceptual problems that severely impede progress in a field. For FY 2010, NIMH funded: Anna-Liisa Brownell, Ph.D. and Francesca Cicchetti, Ph.D. (Massachusetts General Hospital); Hollis T. Cline, Ph.D. (The Scripps Research Institute); Stavros Lomvardas, Ph.D. (University of California, San Francisco); Terunaga Nakagawa, M.D., Ph.D. (University of California, San Diego); Fred W. Sabb, Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles); and, Rosalind A. Segal, M.D., Ph.D. (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute). Note that NIH has reissued the EUREKA FOA for 2011 (RFA-GM-11-003), supported by seven Institutes and Centers in addition to NIMH, and we encourage all innovative and creative members of our extramural community to apply before the October 22, 2010 expiration date.
Developing Interventions and Sharing Data
Last year, I asked our National Mental Health Advisory Council to help us consider how we could best develop new interventions. A workgroup of the Council met through the winter to discuss opportunities and challenges in treatment development. To inform the process, they developed an outstanding report, From Discovery to Cure: Accelerating the Development of New and Personalized Interventions for Mental Illness (PDF file). Guided by the report’s recommendations, the Institute will follow two parallel paths: develop the next generation of interventions, based on a better understanding of the disorders; and, optimize the use of current treatments based on a better understanding of individual differences in treatment response. Integral to these efforts, we will focus our resources on personalized and preemptive medicine. The EMBARC study noted above is a great example of our new focus on personalized medicine for mental disorders.
One set of recommendations from our most recent Council meeting deserves special note. Presentations and discussions at the Council meeting stressed the need for standardization, integration, and data sharing. Standardization of metrics will provide common data elements for clinical research. Integration involves the coordination of data across sites and projects, so that NIMH investments can be leveraged effectively. Rapid and comprehensive data sharing, which has been critical to progress in genomics, will become an expectation in other research areas as we develop standardized protocols. The Institute is exploring how to facilitate standardization, integration, and data sharing to ensure we are making the most effective use of public funds.
With this call for increased data sharing in mind, I am pleased to announce that in mid-October 2010, the National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) will begin to make data available from over 10,000 participants enrolled in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) studies for research use. Investigators will now be able use NDAR to perform queries that simultaneously yield results from multiple datasets. The design of NDAR addresses differences in complex data collected by different laboratories under different protocols, by providing tools to define and standardize the data, as well as to ensure a collaborative approach and open data access to the whole ASD research community. The first wave of data to be made available for sharing include data from the NIH Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE), the Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism (CPEA), and the Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment (STAART). The NDAR Data Access Committee (DAC) approves access to NDAR data and/or images for research purposes only. The DAC will review the Data Access Request and the Data Use Certification of each Recipient requesting data and provide access based on the expectations outlined in the NDAR data sharing policy (PDF file). These expectations include the protection of data privacy, confidentiality, and security. In the event that requests raise concerns related to privacy and confidentiality, risks to populations or groups, or other concerns, the DAC will consult with other experts as appropriate.
Finally, I am delighted to announce the naming of Robert Heinssen, Ph.D., A.B.P.P. as Director of the NIMH Division of Services and Interventions Research (DSIR), after a national search. Dr. Heinssen has been serving as Acting Director of DSIR since early 2009. He previously served as the Deputy Director of DSIR and the Acting Chief of DSIR’s Adult Treatment and Preventive Intervention Research Branch. He has served as the NIMH Science Officer for the multi-site North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study and NIMH Study Director for the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) initiative and for Army STARRS. He recently spent several weeks in Afghanistan developing the “in-theatre” elements of Army STARRS. He is the founder and past president of the Schizophrenia Special Interest Group within the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology.
II. New Announcements about Funding Opportunities
Each week, NIH electronically distributes the NIH GUIDE, a listing of all NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs), which include requests for applications (RFAs), program announcements (PAs), and important notices for the scientific community. Below is a selection of recently issued FOAs in which NIMH participates. The Research Funding page on the NIMH website has links to listings of all NIMH FOAs and other resources.
Note: You can subscribe to the NIMH Funding Opportunities LISTSERV to receive the latest information about RFAs and other research funding opportunities from NIMH, as well as administrative updates and changes to grant policies and procedures. You can also subscribe to a separate LISTSERV to receive weekly e-mails of the NIH GUIDE.
New! NIH Encourages Plain Language When Communicating Research Intent & Value
In support of the NIH mission, it is vital that information about NIH-funded research is not only readily available, but that it relays the value of biomedical research and its potential impact on public health. It is equally important that this information is easily understood by those interested in learning more. Therefore, the NIH strongly encourages applicants to use clear, succinct, professional language in titles, abstracts, and statements of public health relevance in all applications submitted to NIH. Once funded, these portions of the application are publicly available on the NIH website RePORTER. Peer reviewers are expecting the use of plain language in these sections and know to look in the body of the application for the technical detail.
For more information on this topic, as well as before and after examples of using plain language in NIH grant applications, visit Communicating Research Intent and Value on the Office of Extramural Research website. NIH also offers tips for the use of plain language on its web page, Clear Communication: An NIH Health Literacy Initiative.
Questions about the use of plain language in your NIMH application should be discussed with an NIMH Program Official prior to submission.
NIMH-Administered Requests for Applications
Epigenomic Modifications in Neurodevelopment
This FOA solicits applications that propose to characterize pivotal epigenetic events in neurodevelopmental processes or that propose to use preclinical and/or translational models to examine epigenomic profiles related to early environmental influences and vulnerability to mental disorders. The primary objective is to gain insight into critical windows of plasticity during neural development. Research supported by this initiative will provide data on how the epigenome changes during development and in response to the environment, leading to a better understanding of mechanisms underlying normal neural developmental processes and periods of vulnerability that may predispose to the onset of mental disorders. Studies that provide cross-species analysis and/or studies that address heterogeneity of epigenetic marks across tissue types, including cell specificity in the brain across development are of particular interest.
Release Date: July 13, 2010; Expiration Date: October 21, 2010
Viral and Host Genetic Factors Regulating HIV-Associated CNS Disease
NIMH and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) solicit research grant applications to support studies focused on viral and host genetic factors involved in HIV-1 Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) in the setting of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). The focus of this initiative is to encourage studies to discover novel genetic paradigms that may account for the interactions between the virus, the host, and the therapeutic drugs in the central nervous system (CNS) that result in the pathogenesis, progression, and clinical manifestations of HAND. The use of state-of-the-art genetic approaches (including transcriptomics, phenomics, epigenomics, whole genome association studies, next generation sequencing, exome sequencing, and systems biology) to identify and validate (including in vitro models, animal models, & human samples) viral and host genetic factors which influence the pathophysiology of HAND are encouraged.
Release Date: July 29, 2010; Expiration Date: January 7, 2011
Reinvigorating HIV Prevention for Men who have Sex with Men
This FOA encourages research applications to develop and test new HIV prevention interventions, which, if adequately disseminated and implemented broadly, would help to curb the spread of HIV infection, reduce HIV-associated morbidity and mortality, and reduce health disparities in HIV rates among the most at-risk men who have sex with men (MSM). This initiative seeks to build new research in several scientific areas that include, but are not limited to, the following: promoting prevention trial recruitment, screening, enrollment, and retention; enhancing product acceptability, uptake, and adherence; risk behavior and risk counseling in relation to biomedical HIV prevention; advancing combination prevention approaches; and, conducting community engagement, implementation, and operations research.
Release Date: August 17, 2010; Expiration Date: January 5, 2011
Scalable Assays for Unbiased Analysis of Neurobiological Function
This initiative seeks to fill the existing gap in early assay development with quantifiable measures relevant to neurobiological processes and pathways through support for the optimization, automation, standardization, and validation of measures of fundamental cellular and/or molecular events relevant to brain function and with sufficient throughput to allow efficient screening of small molecules, peptides or genetic perturbations. The goal is to adapt state-of-the-art measures of basic cellular processes or molecular events that are key mediators of brain function with the intent to probe mechanisms and/or perturbations in an unbiased and efficient manner. The use of state-of-the art technologies for manipulation, detection, and analysis is encouraged. It should be noted that proposed research projects should have relevance to the basic and translational research priorities of NIMH and NINDS. Applications proposing to use established screening methodologies may not be responsive to this solicitation unless proposing/testing high impact improvements or adaptations. Moreover, the funding Institutes may assign lower priority to projects proposing to measure neurobiological endpoints for which screens are already in use unless applicants provide a compelling case that there are significant advantages to the new approach.
Release Date: August 16, 2010; Expiration Date: November 18, 2010
Behavioral Mechanisms in Biomedical Strategies to Prevent HIV Infections
This FOA solicits research grant applications to advance understanding of the complex behavioral and social factors that partially determine the efficacy and effectiveness of new biomedical strategies to curb HIV infections. This initiative seeks to build new research in several scientific areas that include, but are not limited to, the following: enhancing product acceptability, uptake, and adherence; risk behavior and risk counseling in relation to biomedical HIV prevention; advancing combination prevention approaches; and, conducting community engagement, implementation, and operations research.
Release Date: August 17, 2010; Expiration Date: January 5, 2011
Improving Evidence-Based Mental Health Screening and Treatment for Persons with Mental Disorders in the Justice System
This FOA encourages applications that propose to conduct research to test the effectiveness of strategies for the delivery of evidence-based mental health treatments, services, and suicide prevention in criminal (adult) or juvenile justice settings. Settings of interest include: 1) incarceration or detention, 2) community corrections (parole and probation) and 3) programs to facilitate transition to community. Studies addressing the delivery of mental health treatment during incarceration are of particular priority. Relevant studies include tests of the effectiveness of strategies for mental health screening or diagnosis, delivery of evidence-based mental health treatment(s) or services, and adherence to such treatments or services in justice settings. Of interest are studies that target disorders commonly encountered in justice settings for which there are existing mental health interventions with proven effectiveness in other settings and studies of strategies to prevent suicide during incarceration.
Release Date: August 26, 2010; Expiration Date: December 1, 2010
Collaborative Hubs for International Research on Mental Health
This FOA solicits grant applications for cooperative agreements to establish regional research hubs to increase the evidence base for mental health interventions in World Bank designated low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Each regional hub is to conduct research and provide capacity-building opportunities in one of six geographical regions (i.e., East Asia and the Pacific; Europe and Central Asia; Latin America and the Caribbean; Middle East and North Africa; South Asia; Sub-Saharan Africa). As a group, awardee hubs will constitute a collaborative network for mental health research in LMICs with capabilities for answering research questions (within and across regions) aimed at improving mental health outcomes for men, women, and children. This program is not intended to support research that can be conducted primarily in and/or by United States or other high income country institutions. Foreign Institutions are eligible to apply. NIMH will hold a pre-application, technical assistance teleconference on Monday, November 1, 2010, from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. (EST) to which all prospective applicants are invited.
Release Date: September 15, 2010; Expiration Date: January 22, 2011
NIMH-Collaborative Requests for Applications
Seek, Test, Treat, and Retain: Addressing HIV among Vulnerable Populations
This FOA solicits applications for both domestic and international studies that test the ‘seek, test, treat, and retain’ paradigm. This paradigm predicts that expanding HIV testing and reducing viral load among HIV+ individuals through HAART therapy can be effective in reducing the HIV transmission at a population level. In particular, this FOA focuses on the ability of HAART to reduce HIV transmission among high risk, vulnerable populations. The aspect of the paradigm of greatest interest to NIMH is research designed to understand and improve earlier initiation of HIV treatment. The National institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is interested in research to develop and evaluate strategies to optimize the ‘seek, test, treat, and retain’ paradigm, particularly for substance using populations.
Release Date: June 10, 2010; Expiration Date: November 16, 2010
Martin Delaney Collaboratory: Towards an HIV-1 Cure
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and NIMH encourage grant applications from institutions/organizations to address the problem of HIV-1 persistence in HIV-1-infected persons treated with suppressive antiretroviral drug regimens. This FOA will support research in four areas: (1) basic research to identify and characterize the cellular reservoirs of HIV-1 in treated individuals, (2) development of assays that are physiologically relevant and that comprise a spectrum of cell types that may harbor latent HIV-1 or permit viral replication in the presence of effective antiretroviral drug regimens, (3) screening of drug candidates that target latent/persistent HIV-1, and (4) development and initial testing of new agents or strategies aimed at the eradication of HIV-1. The goal of this initiative is to expand the knowledge base on HIV-1 latency and persistence so that eradication strategies can be designed, developed and evaluated. The application must include basic research and translational activities as essential components and collaborators must include a private sector entity.
Release Date: June 25, 2010; Expiration Date: November 5, 2010
Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program for HIV Topical Microbicides (IPCP-HTM)
NIAID and NIMH invite applications from single institutions and consortia of institutions to participate in this FOA, the purpose of which is to support integrated and iterative multi-project, multi-disciplinary preclinical and exploratory clinical studies with the goal of advancing a safe, effective and acceptable single or combination topical microbicide for the prevention of the sexual transmission of HIV. A minimum of two research projects and an Administrative Core must be proposed. At least one component (research project or scientific core) must be from a private sector for-profit or not-for-profit company. This release of the IPCP-HTM FOA has significant modifications from previous iterations of the IPCP-HTM Program which could affect application responsiveness. Applicants are urged to read the FOA carefully.
Release Date: July 30, 2010; Expiration Date: November 18, 2010
Effects of the Social Environment on Health: Measurement, Methods and Mechanisms
This FOA, issued as part of the NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet), solicits applications that propose to investigate structural, behavioral, sociocultural, environmental, cognitive, emotional, and/or biological mechanisms through which the social environment affects health outcomes. To address this objective, applicants should propose research studies that will: (1) deepen our understanding of which aspects of social environments affect health outcomes for women and men at different stages of the life course and in different social, economic, geographic, racial and ethnic sub-populations; (2) lead to a clearer understanding of mechanisms through which social environments have such effects; or (3) improve measurement methods and/or contribute to advances in analytic methods used in the study of social environments and health.
Release Date: August 3, 2010; Expiration Date: January 7, 2011
Basic Research on Self-Regulation
This FOA, issued as part of the NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet), solicits applications examining basic mechanisms of self-regulation. The intent of this FOA is to advance research on basic processes and mechanisms of self-regulation, capitalizing on recent advances in methods and theory from the psychological (social, personality, developmental), economic, neuroscience, sociocultural, and other behavioral and social science literatures. Applications submitted to this FOA are expected to address one or more of the following basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR) challenges: (1) to precisely identify and operationally reconcile the basic processes and mechanisms involved in self-regulation of cognition, emotion, and behavior, and refine their measurement and theoretical conceptualizations, (2) to assess relations among various self-regulatory functions and their sub-components, and (3) to systematically characterize changes in self-regulatory functions over time, across different social and environmental contexts, and across the lifespan in both men and women. Proposals are expected to engage investigators working at multiple levels of analysis and across disparate literatures.
Release Date: August 10, 2010; Expiration Date: January 7, 2011
Paul B. Beeson Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award in Aging
The Paul B. Beeson Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award in Aging (K23) program provides three to five years of mentored career development support to clinically trained faculty members in strong research environments to enable them to gain skills and experience in patient-oriented research on aging under the guidance of a mentor or mentors, and to establish an independent program of research in this field. The program also includes an annual meeting that allows opportunities to partner with national mentors and fellow awardees.
Release Date: August 20, 2010; Expiration Date: November 10, 2010
Paul B. Beeson Clinical Scientist Development Award in Aging
The Paul B. Beeson Clinical Scientist Development Award in Aging (K08) program provides three to five years of mentored career development support to clinically trained faculty members in strong research environments to enable them to gain skills and experience in basic aging (i.e., not patient-oriented) research under the guidance of a mentor or mentors, and to establish an independent program of research in this field. The program also includes an annual meeting that allows opportunities to partner with national mentors and fellow awardees.
Release Date: August 20, 2010; Expiration Date: November 10, 2010
Scientific Meetings for Creating Interdisciplinary Research Teams in Basic Behavioral and Social Science Research
This FOA solicits applications for scientific meetings aimed at building interdisciplinary research teams in basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR). Applicants must propose developmental activities (i.e., meetings/workshops) that will build the capacity of interdisciplinary teams to accelerate, expand, and/or strengthen fundamental knowledge in b-BSSR as relevant to the Nation’s health and well-being. Proposed interdisciplinary teams must include at least one investigator from the basic social and/or behavioral sciences, and must include investigators from at least one additional discipline. Applicants are encouraged to either: (1) accelerate, expand, and/or strengthen the scope of investigation of a specific b-BSSR research domain through the integration of disparate approaches from b-BSSR and allied disciplines; or (2) increase the sophistication of theoretical, methodological, and analytical approaches in b-BSSR. These goals may be accomplished by fostering the development of shared scientific terminology, approaches, and methodologies across disciplines in order to address a common b-BSSR research question. Investigators may submit applications to support multiple meetings over a period of up to two years.
Release Date: August 27, 2010; Expiration Date: December 15, 2010
NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet) Short-term Interdisciplinary Research Education Program for New Investigators
This FOA issued by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) as part of the NIH OppNet solicits applications that will focus on providing creative and innovative education research experiences for new scientists in basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR). The goal of this initiative is to support the growth of a cohort of scientists with research expertise in b-BSSR to further the understanding of fundamental mechanisms and patterns of behavioral and social functioning relevant to the health and well-being of individuals and populations. Educational partnerships between institutions including, research institutions and clinical and primary care organizations, are highly encouraged in order to broaden research educational opportunities and, ultimately, increase the number of basic biomedical and other health-related researchers trained in the basic behavioral and social sciences field at large.
Release Date: September 14, 2010; Expiration Date: January 7, 2011
NIH Common Fund Initiatives
The NIH Common Fund was enacted into law by Congress through the 2006 NIH Reform Act to support cross-cutting, trans-NIH programs that require participation by at least two NIH Institutes or Centers or would otherwise benefit from strategic planning and coordination. To date, the Common Fund has been used to support a series of short term, exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs known collectively as the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. As the Common Fund grows, and research opportunities and needs emerge in the scientific community, the portfolio of programs supported by the Common Fund will likely evolve to encompass a diverse set of trans-NIH programs, although the NIH Roadmap is likely to remain a central component.
Two new projects are being co-led by NIMH. The HMO Research Collaboratory will be developing a research partnership with large practice organizations to support mega-epidemiology and practical trials research. The Health Economics project will be supporting several pathways of research to inform the implementation of health care reform.
The following projects currently have active funding opportunities and/or notices for NIMH applicants:
The PAR, Solicitation of Assays for High Throughput Screening (HTS) in the Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN), offers public sector biomedical researchers access to the large-scale screening capacity necessary to identify small molecules that can be optimized as chemical probes to study the functions of genes, cells, and biochemical pathways. This increased access will lead to new ways to explore the functions of genes and signaling pathways in health and disease. As of July 2010, MLPCN accomplishments (FY 2005-2010) include 375 screening projects assigned to the centers, 282 screening projects completed, 175 probes produced, 95 leads in preclinical development outside of the MLP, 304 direct publications from the centers, and 845 indirect publications. The Small Molecule Repository (MLSMR) compound collection has reached 349,630 and growing.
Release Date: March 12, 2009; Expiration Date: January 5, 2012
Rapid Access to Interventional Development (RAID)
The NIH RAID program provides full development services for small molecules, peptides, oligonucleotides, and gene vectors, and all (except manufacturing and formulation) biologics. The program has resulted in at least six initial new drug applications (INDs), including one for mental health relevant disorders: a vasopressin receptor antagonist for depression. Recently, an additional mental-health–relevant project was funded, and a seminar was held for another project. Both address potential schizophrenia treatments. For more information, please contact the NIH-RAID program office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knockout Mouse Phenotyping — 3 linked announcements
Knockout Mouse Phenotyping
The purpose of this FOA is to solicit applications for research projects to make maximum progress toward the goal to produce a null-mutant mouse phenotype resource for each gene in mouse strain C57BL/6, for the purpose of elucidating functional information for each protein coding gene in the mammalian genome. The goal of this FOA is to support high-throughput broad based phenotyping of 125 to 500 mouse knock-out (KO) lines per year, depending on the number of centers, with an overall goal of 500 lines per year for the new Knockout Mouse Program (KOMP2).
Release Date: September 10, 2010; Expiration Date: November 11, 2010
Knockout Mouse Phenotyping Project Database
The purpose of this FOA is to solicit applications to develop and implement a Data Coordination Center and Database (DCCDB) to serve as a centralized resource to provide overall tracking of KOMP2 and to deliver this information to the research network, NIH staff, and the public.
Release Date: September 10, 2010; Expiration Date: November 11, 2010
Knockout Mouse Production and Cryopreservation
The purpose of this FOA is to solicit applications for research projects to make maximum progress toward the goal of converting the International Knockout Mouse Consortium (IKMC) ES cell resource into mice, performing preliminary phenotyping, and cryopreserving germplasm of those mice (which will be phenotyped by grantees funded through an FOA being published in parallel). This is part of an overall pilot effort aimed at developing a widely available resource of well-characterized mutant mice that can be used by the scientific community to elucidate functional information for each protein-coding gene in the mammalian genome. Depending upon the success of this pilot, the program will be scaled up during an additional 5 years to complete the phenotyping of a total of 8,500 knockout strains.
Release Date: September 10, 2010; Expiration Date: November 11, 2010
The Library of Integrated Network-based Cellular Signatures (LINCS)
The LINCS program aims to support the high-throughput collection and integrative computational analysis of informative molecular and cellular signatures generated in response to a variety of perturbing agents, including small interfering RNA (siRNAs) and small bioactive molecules, which are applied to a set of carefully selected cell types. Two high-scoring pilot center applications in response to the Large Scale Production of Perturbagen-Induced Cellular Signatures (U54) RFA have been approved for funding by the NHGRI National Advisory Council. Two additional RFAs have been released aimed at informatics and data analysis tool development, and experimental technology development: Advanced Technologies for Detection of Perturbation-Induced Cellular Signatures (RFA-RM-10-004) and Computational Tool Development and Integrative Data Analysis for LINCS (RFA-RM-10-005).
Release Date: August 6, 2010; Expiration Date: February 23, 2011
The following Common Fund projects have already yielded important scientific opportunities for NIMH:
Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx)
Through the GTEx program, correlations between genotype and tissue-specific gene expression levels will help identify regions of the genome that influence whether and how much a gene is expressed. GTEx will help researchers to understand how changes in DNA sequence that give rise to expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) affect gene expression in different normal human tissues. It will be a resource database and tissue bank for many studies in the future. Potential scale up of this two-year pilot program will be based on successful completion of the pilot goals.
Human Microbiome Project (HMP)
The HMP is a five-year, $157 million project with goal of characterizing the microbiome of healthy adults, correlating changes of the microbiome in health and disease, and stimulating additional support for microbiome research in disease research. Project accomplishments include continued quality assurance standards development for genomic and metagenomic sequence data; an initial list of microbial strains for sequencing; an institutional review board-approved clinical sampling protocol; establishment of an interim Data Coordination Center; and, gathering of the first HMP Research Network Meeting with principal investigators from all HMP-funded grants.
The Epigenomics Program studies the role of epigenetic regulation of the genome as it pertains to health and susceptibility to disease. Specifically, the program focuses on mechanisms that control stem cell differentiation into various tissues and how epigenomic marks contribute to the biological response to endogenous and exogenous stimuli that result in disease. The Program is creating an international committee; developing standardized platforms, procedures, and reagents for epigenomics research; conducting demonstration projects to evaluate how epigenomes change and their role in disease; developing new technologies for single-cell epigenomic analysis and in vivo imaging of epigenetic activity; and, creating a public data resource to accelerate the application of epigenomics approaches.
Science of Behavior Change (SOBC)
An RFA was issued earlier this year to establish the groundwork for a unified science of behavior change that capitalizes on emerging basic science, to accelerate investigation of common mechanisms of behavior change applicable across a broad range of health-related behaviors. It is expected that this collaborative approach — linking basic science research on mechanisms of change to real world contexts — will advance several goals, including the identification of the optimal targets and time points for intervention; identification of common mechanisms of change related either to multiple independent health behaviors or bundled (i.e., commonly co-occurring) behaviors; modification of interventions to particular at-risk individuals or groups; and, identification of individuals or groups most likely to benefit from specific behavior change interventions. Applications have been reviewed and a funding plan has been submitted.
Clinical Translational Science Awards (CTSA)
Launched in 2006, the purpose of the CTSA Program is to assist research institutions to forge a uniquely transformative, novel, and integrative academic home for clinical and translational science that has the consolidated resources to captivate, advance, and nurture a cadre of well-trained multi- and inter-disciplinary investigators and research teams; create an incubator for innovative research tools and information technologies; and, synergize multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary clinical and translational research and researchers to catalyze the application of new knowledge and techniques to clinical practice at the front lines of patient care. Nine new CTSAs have been announced for 2010, bringing the total number of awards to 55.
NIH Neuroscience Blueprint Initiatives
The Neuroscience Blueprint is a framework to enhance cooperative activities among 16 NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices that support research on the nervous system. The Blueprint aims to develop research tools, resources, and training and to make them available to the neuroscience community.
Training in Computational Neuroscience: From Biology to Model and Back Again
The Blueprint has recently issued an FOA to establish new research education and research training programs in computational neuroscience, and to support the continuation of meritorious existing programs, for undergraduate and predoctoral level students. Computational neuroscience education provides a theoretical foundation and set of technological approaches that offer significant opportunities to investigate and integrate information about nervous system function across a range of scales: parts of cells, networks, whole brain function, and behavior. It is intended that programs will provide education and training in both experimental neuroscience and in the theories and principles of the physical, computer, mathematical, or engineering sciences that are necessary to develop models, test them experimentally, and use experimental data to refine the models of normal or disordered neural systems or processes. Programs are further expected to stimulate interactions among training faculty from multiple disciplines and departments and to foster development of an integrated curriculum in computational neuroscience at the applicant institution.
Release Date: September 28, 2010; Expiration Date: January 14, 2011
III. Future Research Directions
National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC) Concept Clearances for Potential New Research Initiatives
This listing of potential future initiatives is meant to provide the earliest possible alert to the field of our research interests and of potential upcoming announcements to solicit that research. While NIMH plans to proceed with these initiatives, their publication and timing are not certain and depend on sufficient funding. The titles and brief descriptions are consistent with the information available at the time of concept clearance. The resultant FOAs may differ from the concepts in the final wording of their titles or other aspects. To send questions about a specific concept, follow the “Submit Comments” link at the bottom of the description.
Summaries of NIMH-Sponsored Scientific Meetings
Research workshops and scientific meetings are some of the best forums in which to identify research gaps and to stimulate new areas of mental health research. Below is a brief description of meetings that NIMH sponsored recently. Questions about a specific meeting can be addressed by the program contact listed in the meeting description.
IV. Update on Electronic Submission of Grant Applications
Electronic Submission News
NIH is transitioning to updated electronic application forms packages (ADOBE-FORMS-B1, see NOT-OD-11-007). For deadlines on or before May 7, 2011, most applicants (exceptions listed below) may use either ADOBE-FORMS-B or ADOBE-FORMS-B1 forms. For deadlines after May 7, all applicants will be required to use ADOBE-FORMS-B1 forms. Exceptions: Applicants submitting for the following NIH programs must use ADOBE-FORMS-B1 packages for deadlines on or after January 25, 2011: Individual Research Career Development Award Programs (Ks), Institutional Training and Career Development Programs (Ts and Ds), or Individual National Research Service Awards (Fs). For more information, see Guide Notice NOT-OD-11-008. It is important to note that if you have submitted previously on the Forms B and are going to be doing a resubmission when Forms B1 are required, you will need to download the form and fill it out fresh for your resubmission application.
Grants Policy Update
There is a new time limit under which resubmission applications may be submitted. The time between a New, Renewal, or Revision (formerly competing supplement) application and a Resubmission (A1) of that application must be within 37 months. Details on handling applications that were originally submitted late or under continuous submission policies are detailed in the notice (NOT-OD-10-140).
V. Research Training and Career Development
Increasing the diversity of our research workforce is an Institute priority. Ongoing programs addressing this priority include: 1) the Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-10-109); 2) the Mental Health Dissertation Research Grant to Increase Diversity (PAR-09-132); 3) Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-08-190); and, 4) the NIMH institutional training grants (T32) through each award’s required diversity recruitment and retention plan. After peer review, NIMH Program staff members carefully review T32 diversity recruitment and retention plans and provide suggestions to improve unacceptable plans. Competitive applications are not funded until the program director has received from the Principal Investigator a plan that is found to be acceptable to NIMH. Program staff members annually review diversity recruitment and retention efforts described in Progress Reports and, when efforts have not been fruitful, initiate a discussion with the T32 Program Director to stimulate a more successful approach.
Recently, NIMH implemented three recommendations of the 2008 Advisory Council Workgroup on Research Training (PDF file).
NIH-wide News! Wanted before November 1: Stellar Graduate Students to Meet Nobel Laureates
Do you have an outstanding graduate student? Send him/her to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany this summer to meet Nobel Laureates and rub shoulders with some of the brightest graduate students from around the globe.
The focus of the 2011 Lindau meeting will be Physiology or Medicine. The meeting will be June 26-July 1, 2011. The timeline is short: nominations from your university are due November 1, 2010.
You can learn more about the Lindau Nobel Meetings at the following websites:
We’re interested in feedback from the community; comments or suggestions related to NIMH’s support for research training and career development may be directed to NIMH_Training@mail.nih.gov.
VI. Recent NIMH Science News
The latest news and updates from NIMH-supported research:
Publicizing NIMH research is a communal responsibility — we need your help! Please help us spread the word about the results of NIMH funding by acknowledging our support of your research, for example, in journal articles (citing your NIMH award by number when possible) and other communications. NIMH has two primary methods of getting the word out: press releases and science updates. All releases and updates are posted to the Science News section of the NIMH website. These are all also distributed to the public through the NIMH ListServ, which now has more than 20,000 subscribers.
If you have a manuscript accepted for publication that describes an especially significant finding, please contact your NIMH program director to discuss the possibility of a news release or other forms of dissemination.
VII. Stay Connected with NIMH
In pursuit of new ways to reach our stakeholders, NIMH has leapt into the world of social media. In addition to our email newsletters and RSS updates, NIMH now offers YouTube videos on mental health topics. We have also entered the world of Twitter, where we highlight Science Updates, Press Releases, and other timely matters. You can even find us on Facebook! Be sure to read our Director’s Blog for insights into the latest topics in mental health research.
Check us out!