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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Integrative Computational Neuroscience and Brain Reward Systems Program


This program supports basic experimental and theoretical research focusing on biophysically based, multi-scale computational modeling of cellular and molecular pathways in brain circuits, including those that link cellular and sub-cellular activity to neural systems that underlie complex mental health ­­relevant behaviors. We encourage data-driven studies that provide models of how molecular and cellular pathways relate to synaptic biophysical models and how these can be used to bridge cellular levels of analysis to circuits and behavior. This program also seeks to accelerate development of preclinical therapeutic computational models that modulate electrical and chemical activity in neurons to improve brain function and mental health relevant behaviors.

In addition to supporting computational modeling efforts that are aligned with the overall areas of interest and priorities of the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, this program will also support purely experimental work that is specifically focused on reward systems.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Biologically realistic and theory-driven computational models of neuronal and non-neuronal processes from molecules, to single cells, to networks, to systems, and behavior
  • Computational models that integrate data across species (including human) as well as integration of multiplatform types of data from projects that include omics, electrophysiology, imaging, and biostructural data 
  • Computational modeling of neuromodulator- and neurotransmitter-mediated changes in synaptic strength/efficacy aimed at delineating intrinsic and/or dynamic network properties (e.g., neural oscillatory activity, activity-dependent plasticity) predicting complex mental health relevant behaviors
  • Novel computational and analytical approaches for modeling of non-neuronal cell signaling in neural networks
  • Computational modeling and experimental studies of reward processing and circuitry

Areas of Lower Priority

  • Computational projects where the primary focus is not to classify, predict, explain, and/or modify brain and behavior activity
  • Basic mechanistic studies of motor systems and motor function
  • Computational projects that model single level of analysis
  • Projects that investigate candidate genes lacking genome-wide association
  • Models that are not experimentally testable and validated
  • Studies of rewarding properties of substance abuse

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their proposals with the Institute contact listed below prior to the submission of their application to ascertain that their proposed work is aligned with NIMH funding priorities.

Applications should adhere to published recommendations detailed in a notice in the NIH Guide (NOT-14-004 ) and summarized in Enhancing the Reliability of NIMH-Supported Research through Rigorous Study Design and Reporting on the NIMH website.


Siavash Vaziri, Ph.D.
Program Chief
6001 Executive Boulevard, MSC 9637