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Funding News - Research Sought on Mechanisms of Transmission and Dissemination of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

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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) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) invite applications for research on mechanisms of transmission and dissemination of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). This announcement is supported by 2 grant funding mechanisms: R03 and R21.*

TSEs or "prion diseases" are neurodegenerative disorders that can lead to dementia, motor dysfunction, and, eventually, death. The best known mechanism of natural transmission of TSEs is via the gastrointestinal tract through ingestion of contaminated food. Once in the digestive tract, prions are able to disseminate to the peripheral lymph organs and the central nervous system (CNS). The purpose of this announcement is to expand research on how these diseases can spread within an affected population and how infectious prions are then distributed through the body and ultimately to the CNS.

Research areas of interest include, but are not limited to: the natural spread of TSEs within species; the spread of TSEs across species barriers; the mechanisms involved in the transport of prions from the gastrointestinal tract, or other mode of entry, to the CNS; the roles of age-related factors in the transport and entry into the CNS and the consequent pathological manifestations; the possible involvement of inflammatory or other cofactors in the dissemination of TSE agents; and animal models aimed at understanding the mechanisms of transmission and dissemination of TSEs.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Michael Nunn, Program Director, Neural Environment Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2115, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: 301-496-1431; fax: 301-402-2060; e-mail:

*For a more detailed description of this announcement, please visit the NIH web site at: (R03), or (R21).