New and Reissued Funding Opportunity Announcements for Fiscal Year 2020: Cell Census Research and Tools for Cells and Circuits

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This week, a series of daily blog posts will highlight 28 new and reissued BRAIN Initiative funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for 2020. The five awards featured today focus on brain mapping and tool development. The goal of these FOAs is to accelerate brain cell census research and promote the development, validation, and use of novel tools designed to study cell types and circuits.

Cell Census Research

The first two FOAs support projects under the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN), which broadly aims to create comprehensive 3D reference brain cell atlases that integrate molecular, anatomical, functional, and lineage data for describing cell types in human, non-human primate, and mouse brains.

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BRAIN Update FOA 2020 cell census and tools graph

RFA-MH-19-148 BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) Scalable Technologies and Tools for Brain Cell Census (R01)

This new FOA aims to accelerate the integration and use of scalable technologies and tools to enhance brain cell census research. Specifically, funding can support the development of technology platforms and/or resources that will enable a quick and comprehensive survey of brain cell types and circuits. Tools and technologies of interest can fit into the following themes: molecular profiling, neuron morphology, neuron connectivity/circuit diagrams, cell lineage and/or development. The application receipt date is January 24, 2020.

RFA-MH-19-149 BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) Specialized Collaboratory on Human and Non-Human Primate Brain Cell Atlases (Reissue of MH-17-210; U01)

This FOA supports a group of specialized collaborations to establish comprehensive molecular and anatomical cell reference atlases of human and/or non-human primate brains. Data generated should cover multiple different brain structures and characterize a variety of cell properties. Proposed methods should generate high-quality data in a cost-effective manner. The primary goal is to create a cell census resource that can be widely used by the research community; thus, applicants must address issues related to large-scale data production. Applications are due on January 24, 2020.


Tools for Cells and Circuits

The next three awards focus on the development and validation of tools for studying cells and neural circuits that can be widely disseminated to the neuroscience community.

RFA-MH-20-135 Tools to Facilitate High-Throughput Microconnectivity Analysis (Reissue of RFA-MH-18-505; R01)

This FOA supports the development and validation of tools and resources designed to analyze brain microconnectivity. This award seeks out advancements in both electron microscopy (EM) and super resolution light microscopic approaches. Proposals to develop new and/or augmented approaches that break through technical barriers to improve current capabilities are highly encouraged. Novel tools should be made broadly accessible to the research community. Applications are due on September 30, 2020.

RFA-MH-19-136 Development and Validation of Novel Tools to Probe Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in the Brain (Reissue of MH-17-220; R01)

This FOA can fund projects to develop and validate next-generation, innovative tools (non-genetic and genetic) that inform and/or exploit cell types and circuits. Successful applications should include detailed plans for validation. Examples of tools include novel methods for delivering active agents to specific cells and circuits and unique systems-level computational approaches to define cell and circuit function. Please see the full FOA for a comprehensive list of tools. Tools useable in multiple species/model organisms are highly desired. The application receipt date is September 9, 2020.

RFA-MH-19-135 Development of Novel Tools to Probe Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in Human and Non-Human Primate Brain (UG3/UH3)

This new FOA solicits the development and validation of novel, cutting-edge tools to study and manipulate cell types and circuits in large mammal brains. Funding can support initial proof-of-principle studies aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of approaches in humans and other mammals (i.e., non-human primates, sheep, pigs). Research areas applicable to this award range from validating and refining viral gene delivery systems to tracing cell lineage. Please see the full FOA for more examples. Applications are due on September 28, 2020.

Please visit the BRAIN Initiative’s Funding Opportunities webpage for more details on these and other awards. Did you miss earlier posts this week on the 2020 FOAs? If so, please visit the main BRAIN Update blog webpage here.