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Neuropharmacology Program

This program supports cellular, molecular, and circuit level research aimed at identifying and verifying novel targets for therapeutic intervention in the treatment of mental illnesses. Supported research includes studies of the structure, function, and regulation of CNS receptors, transporters, ion channels, neuropeptides, and neuromodulators; molecular mechanisms of ligand-receptor interactions; and mechanisms of action of potential novel therapeutics at the molecular, cellular, and neural circuit levels. Areas of interest include:

  • Identification and validation of novel molecular targets in model systems.
  • Scalable assays for medium- and high-throughput molecular screening in neurobiological systems in vitro.
  • Functional roles and signaling mechanisms of molecules identified in human genetic studies of mental illnesses, with the goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets.
  • Discovery and development of treatment approaches that target neural circuits underlying mood and cognition.
  • Preclinical biomarkers predictive of physiological drug action in humans using molecular, cellular, and/or circuit level approaches.
  • Molecular modeling and structural analyses of novel therapeutic targets.

Lower priority is placed on projects whose primary goal is to elucidate the mechanisms of action of approved and effective psychotherapeutic drug treatments.

It is recommended that applicants review the NIH/NIMH Therapeutics Discovery Research webpage for relevant announcements and guidance.

Applications should adhere to recently 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.

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.


Laurie Nadler, Ph.D.
Program Chief
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7184, MSC 9641