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Funding News - Research to Improve the Chemistry and Targeted Delivery of RNAi Molecules Sought

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  • The information on this page is for historical and research purposes only.
  • For the most current NINDS funding announcements, please see the NINDS list of Active Funding Initiatives or Follow Us on Twitter for the latest funding news.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) invites small business innovation research (SBIR) and small business technology transfer (STTR) applications to improve the chemistry and targeted delivery of RNA interference (RNAi) molecules.  This announcement is made together with 12 other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).*

Gene silencing by RNAi takes advantage of an endogenous defense mechanism of protecting cells from invading viruses and damage by transposable genetic elements.   In recent years, RNAi has emerged as a powerful strategy for silencing genes and has become a widely used tool due to its great simplicity and high efficiency.  

Areas of research interest include, but are not limited to, studies to:  develop and identify chemical modifications to improve thermal stability of dsRNA (double-stranded RNA), such as LNA (locked nucleic acids) or HNA (hexitol nucleic acids); develop nucleic acid modifications, such as 2'-fluorobases or 3'-5' phosphoramidate, leading to resistance to nuclease digestion but still allowing efficient processing by Dicer; identify chemical modifications leading to preferential strand uptake by RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISC) that will enhance specificity and reduce off-target effects; develop chemical modifications, such as 2,6-diaminopurine (DAP), that enhance base-pairing interactions between the siRNA (short interfering RNA) and targeted mRNA (messenger RNA); develop chemical modifications that will allow or regulate distribution to target tissues, such as to and across the blood-brain barrier; identify chemical modifications, such as phosphorothioate linkages that will enhance the pharmacokinetic properties of siRNA; develop improved instrumentation that will synthesize long oligonucleotides reliably and with high fidelity; and develop systems for conditional expression of siRNAs.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Danilo Tagle, Program Director, Neurogenetics Group, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2133, Bethesda, MD  20892; telephone:  301-496-5745; fax:  301-402-1501; e-mail:

*For a full list of supporting NIH components and a more detailed description of this announcement, please visit the NIH web site at: (SBIR) or (STTR).