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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Neuroendocrinology and Neuroimmunology Program

The Neuroendocrinology Program supports fundamental research to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby hormones and hormone receptors, acting through nuclear and membrane receptors, modulate signaling in brain circuits relevant to affect, cognition, and social behavior. The Neuroimmunology Program supports fundamental research to identify mechanisms underlying the effects of immune cells, cytokines, and chemokines on neurodevelopment, signaling cascades, synaptic plasticity, brain circuits, and behaviors related to affect, cognition, and social behavior.

Areas of interest include:

  • Studies on the effects of hormones and immune-mediated molecules in relevant signaling cascades and brain circuits during transition periods (e.g., pre- and early postnatal development, puberty, adolescence, pregnancy, postpartum).
  • Studies on the role(s) of genomic and non-genomic mechanisms of action of hormones and immune-mediated molecules in relevant signaling cascades and circuits in the intact CNS.
  • Studies of sex differences in relevant neuroendocrine and neuroimmune systems on neurodevelopment, synaptic plasticity, brain circuits, and behavior.
  • Studies of the mechanisms of neuroendocrine and neuroimmune interaction in relevant brain circuits underlying behavior.
  • Studies on mechanisms by which brain immune signaling effects electrophysiological properties of nerve cells and circuits.

Areas of Lower Priority:

  • Studies focused on peripheral processes affecting behavior in the absence of mechanisms addressing how peripheral signals impact relevant brain cells and circuitries.
  • Studies on the effect of stress on peripheral systems and organs. See NOT-MH-18-058 and Priorities in stress research: a view from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health for additional priorities for NIH support of stress research.
  • Studies aimed at establishing or using a ‘model of’ a disease (e.g., based on claims of face validity and interpretation of behaviors as symptoms; see NOT-MH-19-053).

Applicants are strongly encouraged to align projects according to the NIMH Strategic Plan (see Funding Strategy), along with NIMH guidance on the use of model organisms for mental health-relevant research (NOT-MH-19-053), biological investigations of genes associated with disease risk (NOT-MH-18-035), and enhancing the reliability of NIMH-supported research through rigorous study design and reporting (NOT-MH-14-004).

Applicants are 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.

Contact

Leonardo Tonelli, Ph.D.
Program Chief
6001 Executive Boulevard
301-443-5288, leonardo.tonelli@nih.gov