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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Celebrating 75 Years! Learn More >>

Functional Neurogenomics Program


This Program supports research examining genes, gene function, and gene regulatory mechanisms in vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms (in vivo and in vitro) relevant to understanding the genetic, epigenetic, and genomic components of brain function. This includes studies exploring the genetics and genomics underlying the basic molecular, cellular, and circuit neurobiology of behaviors related to mental health. Areas supported by this program include, but are not limited to:

  • Use of model systems to study DNA regulatory elements, cis- and trans-acting factors, critical features of chromatin architecture and relevant mechanisms of gene expression.
  • Studies in model systems that examine the transcriptional regulation of gene expression, RNA processing and translation, including efforts to understand the role of non-coding RNAs in regulating gene expression.
  • Studies of cell-type specific differences in gene expression regulatory mechanisms.
  • Functional analysis of the genomic architecture, regulatory mechanisms and expression networks of gene(s) where variants have been associated with disease risk at genome-wide significance, but where the basic biology of those genes is poorly understood (e.g., where functional analysis would enrich gene ontology).

Areas of Lower Priority

  • Research premised on ‘candidate’ risk genes that are not identified by well-powered, statistically significant genome-wide association (see NOT-MH-18-035 ).
  • Studies of established links between genomic regulatory mechanisms and behavior that are not complemented with measures at intervening levels of analysis.

Applications should adhere to published recommendations detailed in a notice in the NIH Guide (NOT-MH-14-004 ) and summarized in Enhancing the Reliability of NIMH-Supported Research through Rigorous Study Design and Reporting on the NIMH website. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to discuss their proposals with the institute contact listed below prior to the submission of their applications to ascertain that their proposed work is aligned with NIMH funding priorities.


Sarah Leinwand, Ph.D.
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7150.7/MSC 9645