NINDS announces 20 new recipients of Research Program Award

Release Date
Scientists working in the lab

Program enhances funding stability for neuroscience research

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, announced the latest recipients of the R35 Research Program Award (RPA). By providing recipients with up to eight years of funding, this grant enhances funding stability, facilitates flexible research environments, and provides freedom to pursue long-term projects or embark on groundbreaking research.

“The goal is to boost scientific productivity in pursuit of the NINDS mission.  We want to get investigators away from their desks and back to the bench or clinic to more effectively mentor trainees, and conduct innovative studies that will improve our understanding of the brain and ultimately help us reduce the burden of neurological diseases,” said Walter Koroshetz, M.D., director of NINDS. “We look forward to ongoing scientific advances from the more than 70 investigators that have been funded by R35 grants and hope these awards provide them the time and resources to engage in the lab or research clinic and execute rigorous science.”

The newest group of R35 RPA scientists represents a range of neuroscience research interests, including understanding the mechanisms of hemorrhagic stroke; taking a detailed look at how motor circuits are put together; developing strategies to improve remyelination in multiple sclerosis; and identifying new cerebellar functions.

The RPA launched in 2015 as an alternative to the R01, the Research Project Grant (RPG) which makes up most NIH grants. RPGs typically last for a period between three and five years and are awarded to support a single specific project idea. Many labs need to have multiple RPGs to support their work across multiple projects, resulting in investigators spending much of their time writing grant applications.

The RPA provides funding for a research program for up to eight years. The grant is not limited to supporting a specific project in order to enhance the freedom of investigators to pursue interesting scientific leads. One of the goals of the RPA is to encourage exciting long-term projects that would not be possible with the R01 grant. 

Investigators who have had five years of recent R01 support from NINDS are eligible for R35 RPA support.

“We encourage eligible investigators to work with their institutions to apply, particularly early-career investigators, and researchers from underrepresented groups including women and minorities,” said Dr. Koroshetz. 

Although NINDS has a strong commitment to promoting diversity in the neuroscience workforce, in previous years, less than 30% of R35 investigators were women. NINDS is seeking to promote diversity in the R35 program, not only with respect to research methodology and area of study, but also with respect to investigator background and career stage.

Applications are currently being accepted until July 31, 2020.

The principal investigators and recipient institutions of the NINDS R35 RPA are:

Eva Anton, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Defining mechanisms of progenitor balance and neuronal connectivity

Walter Atwood, Ph.D.
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy: endemic viruses and lethal brain disease

Baron Chanda, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Biophysical mechanisms of gating and modulation in voltage-gated ion channel superfamily

Jeremy Dasen, Ph.D.
New York University School of Medicine
Genetic control of circuit assembly in the vertebrate spinal cord

Matthew Disney, Ph.D.
Scripps Florida, Jupiter, Florida
Design of precision small molecules targeting RNA repeating transcripts to manipulate and study disease biology

Matthew Gentry, Ph.D.
University of Kentucky, Lexington
Brain glycogen – metabolism, mechanisms, and therapeutic potential

Christopher Gomez, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Chicago
Demystifying disorders of bicistronic calcium channel genes

Chenghua Gu, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School, Boston
Molecular mechanisms of the blood-brain barrier function and regulation

Richard Ivry, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley
Human cerebellar function in multiple task domains

Matthew Kennedy, Ph.D.
University of Colorado, Denver
Novel approaches for interrogating and manipulating synaptic function, structure, and plasticity

Thomas Lane, Ph.D.
University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Defining mechanisms of disease and repair in a viral model of multiple sclerosis

Indira Raman, Ph.D.
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Synaptic coding in the cerebellar corticonuclear circuit

Hongjun Song, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Continuous neurogenesis in the mammalian hippocampus

Nicholas Spitzer, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
Determining fundamental properties of neurotransmitter switching in adult mammals

Kevin Staley, M.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
Neuronal ion and volume shifts after acute brain injury

Paul Tesar, Ph.D.
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
Modulating glial fate and function in development and disease

Leslie Thompson, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine
Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis in Huntington’s disease

Laurence Trussell, Ph.D.
Oregon Health and Science University, Portland
Regulation of axonal and synaptic signaling in interneurons

Guohua Xi, M.D.
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Experimental cerebral hemorrhage: mechanisms and therapies

Ryohei Yasuda, Ph.D.
Max Planck Florida Corporation, Jupiter, Flordia
Neuronal intracellular signaling underlying synaptic, circuit, and behavioral plasticity

For more information, please visit:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Research Program Award R35 Recipients


The NINDS is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.

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