Scientific Review Branch

The NINDS Scientific Review Branch (SRB) is responsible for the review of all NINDS research and development contracts and certain grant applications of particular interest to NINDS. This includes various applications and grant mechanisms for which NINDS is specified in the NOFO.

In addition to performing the activities outlined below, the SRB scientific review officers (SROs) also serve as a resource to extramural staff, reviewers, and applicants by providing advice and assistance regarding review policy issues and the planning of new initiatives and future directions.

Key Functions

  • Receiving and assigning applications and contract proposals to review committees
  • Determining the expertise needed to review grant applications and contract proposals
  • Recruiting reviewers with appropriate expertise for both regular review committees and Special Emphasis Panels
  • Assigning applications and proposals to appropriate reviewers
  • Organizing and supervising in-person and teleconference/videoconference or internet-assisted review committee meetings
  • Assigning appropriate NIH subject codes to applications, and entering codes, scores, and critiques into the central NIH database



Review Chief

Dr. Ernie Lyons

Deputy Chief

Dr. Shanta Rajaram

Operations Coordinator

Sheri Walder




The NINDS SRB is comprised of four integrated review teams that align with the current NINDS Program Divisions, in addition to the Review Referral team. Reviews are managed within standing study sections, or in Special Emphasis Panels (SEPs) created to include members with the relevant scientific expertise. Explore review teams and their current rosters below.

Note that all designations of NINDS SEPs begin with “ZNS1".

Clinical Review Team

The Clinical Research Review Team manages the review of the Clinical Trials programs including multi-site Phase III Trials, Phase II Clinical Trial Networks including NeuroNext, StrokeNet, and SIREN, and the Clinical Trial Readiness Program.

Team Lead: Dr. Shanta Rajaram

Standing Sub-Committees: NSD-C, NSD-K  

SEP Sub-Committees: ZNS1 SEPs

SROs: Ana Olariu; Nilkantha Sen [C], Pragya Prakash [C], Iqbal Sayeed

ESA: Natosha Foster

Neurological Sciences Review Team

The Neurological Sciences Review Team manages the review of NINDS initiatives including R35 Research Program, Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for PD Research, the ADRD Program, P30 Core Grants, Research Resource Grants (R24), BRAIN initiative grants, Conference Grants (R13s) and other special RFA's.

Acting Team Lead: Bo-Shiun Chen

SEP Sub-Committees: ZNS1 SEPs

SRO’s:  Bo-Shiun Chen, Li Jia, Ahamed Hossain, Bo-Shiun Chen, Tatiana Pasternak 

ESA: LaKashia McKoy

Training and Workforce Diversity Review Team

The Training and Workforce Diversity Review Team manages the review of the NINDS Pathway to Independence Program (K99/R00), Research Career Development Awards (K's, F's and T32's), Research Education Awards (R25s) and the NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience Award (D-SPAN F99/K00).

Team Lead: Dr. Bill Benzing

Standing Committees: NST-1, NST-2 

SEP Sub-Committees: ZNS1 SEPs

SRO’s: DeAnna Adkins, Lataisia Jones, Steven Britt

ESA: Tanya Moxley, Devonna Watts 

Translational Research Review Team

The Translational Research Review Team manages the review of NINDS translational research programs including IGNITE, CREATE, NINDS Biomarkers programs, the Blueprint for Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN), the BRAIN initiative and medical devices.

Team Lead: Dr. Natalia Strunnikova

Standing committees: NSD-A, NSD-B SEP Sub-Committees: ZNS1 SEPs

SRO:  Mirela Milescu, Joel Saydoff, Abhi Subedi, Eric Tucker

ESA: Shavonna Holly

Review Referral Team

The Review Referral Branch is responsible for tracking grant assignments and shepherding NOFO development.

Staff: Karrah Benson, Gary Marlowe, Maureen Hambrecht