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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS)


The Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS) provides support for research programs in the areas of basic neuroscience, genetics, basic behavioral science, research training, resource development, technology development, drug discovery, and research dissemination. The Division has the responsibility, in cooperation with other components of the Institute and the research community, for ensuring that relevant basic science knowledge is generated and then harvested to create improved diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and behavioral disorders.

Through the various programs housed in its branches and offices, the Division offers support for a spectrum of relevant extramural activities. By reviewing the program descriptions, investigators should be able to identify an appropriate contact. For the Division and each program we also provide Areas of High Priority and Areas of Emphasis. In addition, we continue to encourage innovative applications in any area relevant to the mission of the Institute.

Areas of High Priority

  • Develop new and use existing physiological and computational models to understand the biological functions of genes, gene products, cells, and brain circuits in normal and abnormal mental function.
  • Elucidate how cognitive, affect, stress, and motivational processes interact and their role(s) in mental disorders through functional studies spanning levels of analysis (genomic, molecular, cellular, circuits, behavior) during development and throughout the lifespan.
  • Elucidate fundamental mechanisms (e.g., genetic, biological, behavioral, environmental) of complex social behavior.
  • Identify in diverse populations from the US and around the world genetic variants, epigenetic mechanisms, and gene-environment interactions that influence vulnerability to mental disorders, endophenotypes, and pharmacologic response profiles.
  • Identify biological markers (e.g., genetic, proteomic, imaging) in model systems and humans that could be further validated as methods for diagnosing and/or detecting risk/vulnerability, onset, progress, and/or severity of mental disorders.
  • Identify and validate new molecular targets and tools for drug discovery relevant to the treatment of mental disorders.

Additional Information


Linda S. Brady, Ph.D.
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7204/MSC 9645

Deputy Director

Susan E. Koester, Ph.D.
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7205/MSC 9645

Contacts for general grant program assistance

Katherine Noveras
6001 Executive Boulevard

Ron Patrick Merriwether
6001 Executive Boulevard

Kelly Linthicum
6001 Executive Boulevard