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Funding News - Novel Genetic Methods to Map Research on Novel Genetic Methods to Map Functional Neuronal Circuits and Synaptic Change Sought

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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) encourages grant applications for research to develop new genetic methods and technologies to map functional neuronal circuits and synaptic changes in the mammalian nervous system. This announcement is made together with 8 other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).*

Emerging genetic and transgenic technologies can be used to single out functionally related cells or neuronal populations for analysis or intervention. This program announcement supports the development of genetic-based tools to map neuronal interconnectivity, monitor functional changes, or drive functional changes within neuronal circuits as the first step in an effort by the NIH to create integrated genomic and functional connectivity maps of the mammalian nervous system. Understanding the pattern of interconnections of specific neural cells is essential to understanding their roles in nervous system function and dysfunction.

Examples of potential research areas of interest include: development of cell-type specific promoters or improvement of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) technology to specifically label or isolate distinct neuronal classes and their projections for the purpose of mapping functional neuronal circuits; methods for detecting electrical activity in mammalian neurons by optical recording from genetically encoded reporters; methods for detecting neuronal activity in deep brain structures using genetically encoded reporters particularly suited for in vivo applications; methods for visualizing the activity of signal transduction pathways in neurons and neuronal circuits using genetically encoded reporters or other fusion constructs; genetic-based methods for the persistent labeling of neurons over prolonged periods of time in order to follow plastic changes in morphology, connections, or function; genetic-based methods for visualizing dynamic changes in neuronal connections, such as pulse-chase labeling of synapses; and genetic-based methods for controlling or driving neural activity or signaling responses in defined neuronal populations.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Laura A. Mamounas, Program Director, Repair and Plasticity Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2206, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: 301-496-1447; fax: 301-480-1080; e-mail: lm92t@nih.gov.

*For a full list of supporting NIH components and a more detailed description of this program announcement, please visit the NIH web site at: http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-03-007.html.