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Funding News - Research Sought on Rett Syndrome and MECP2

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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) encourage grant applications for basic and clinical research on Rett syndrome (RTT) and MECP2. This announcement is supported by 2 grant funding mechanisms: R03 and R21.*

RTT is a severely debilitating neurodevelopmental disorder. Girls with RTT appear to develop normally until about 6 to 18 months of age at which time they enter a period of regression, losing speech, purposeful hand and motor skills, and cognitive abilities that they had acquired, while also developing seizures, repetitive hand movements, and other motor disturbances, autonomic dysfunctions such as breathing irregularities, social withdrawal (including autism), and growth and mental retardation. There is no cure for RTT; current treatment is symptomatic.

Possible areas of research interest include, but are not limited to: developmental, neuroanatomical, osteological, electrophysiological, and imaging studies intended to identify specific abnormalities in people with RTT or in animal models of RTT; studies of transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of MECP2 expression in neurodevelopment and neuronal maturation; locus-by-locus and genome-wide analyses of epigenetic dysregulation in animal models of RTT including analyses of associated phenotypic changes; identification of genomic targets of MECP2 actions; development of efficient, sensitive, genome-wide strategies and/or massively parallel methodologies; investigation of the role of MECP2 in other neurological or neurobehavioral disorders, and studies of other conditions and clinical abnormalities that co-occur in the families of individuals with RTT; identification of the downstream molecular targets of MECP2 with a focus on potential molecular targets for drug therapy of RTT; and preclinical screening of potential therapeutic agents including both small-molecule and gene-based therapies in cellular or animal models of RTT.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Laura Mamounas, Program Director, Neurogenetics Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2132, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: 301-496-5745; fax: 301-402-1501; e-mail: lm92t@nih.gov.

*For a more detailed description of this announcement, please visit the NIH web site at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAS-06-273.html (R03), or http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAS-06-274.html (R21).