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Neural Environment

Neurological disorders may result when extra-neuronal cells are compromised, as in demyelinating and cerebrovascular diseases; when extra-neuronal cells themselves become aggressors, as in inflammatory responses within the nervous system; when cells of the nervous system become cancerous and form tumors; when viruses, bacteria, or parasites infect the cells of the nervous system; when autoimmune responses damage nerve and muscle; or when cells of the blood-brain barrier are dysfunctional. Glial cells, microvascular endothelia, and cells of hematopoetic origin are integrally involved in the normal development and/or functioning of the nervous system and play a crucial role in disease. Emerging concepts on the interaction among all of these cells hold great promise for increasing our understanding of how the nervous system works in normal and diseased states, and will broaden our perspective on how we think about the nervous system.

The Neural Environment cluster promotes translating scientific knowledge into useful diagnostic tools, research on the implementation of preventive measures, and development and delivery of targeted therapeutic agents for neurological diseases.

Research areas supported by the Neural Environment:

The disease areas supported by Neural Environment cluster include: stroke, multiple sclerosis, CNS and PNS tumors, neuro-AIDS, prion diseases, and CNS infections. The Neural Environment cluster also supports several areas of basic neuroscience research including: neuroimmunology, neurovirology, neural vascular biology, and the blood brain barrier. Our grant portfolio spans basic, translational, and some clinical research.

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Neural Environment Funding Initiatives


Neural Environment Program Staff

Scientific Staff
Research Area
Francesca Bosetti, Ph.D.
Program Director
Ischemic stroke, ischemic preconditioning, blood-brain barrier
Jane Fountain, Ph.D.
Program Director 
Brain tumors
Jim Koenig, Ph.D.
Program Director 
Hemorrhagic and neonatal stroke, neurovascular biology, neuroimaging, vascular malformations, cerebral palsy
Ursula Utz, Ph.D.
Program Director 
Multiple sclerosis
May Wong, Ph.D.
Program Director 
Neuro-AIDS, prion disease, infectious diseases of the nervous system
Ipolia Ramadan, Ph.D.
Health Program Specialist
Keri Small, Ph.D.
Health Program Specialist


Neural Environment
Neuroscience Center
Room NSC 2110
6001 Executive Blvd.
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-9521
For courier service only, use Rockville, Maryland 20852
Call: (301) 496-1431