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NIH to Fund Neurobiological Assay Research

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health plans to use $5 million next year to fund research into the development of molecular and cellular assays that can measure changes in the function of brain cells.

The National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke will provide around $3 million and $2 million, respectively, to fund up to a total of 16 awards to support research into new technologies for measuring and analyzing molecular events that are relevant to brain function.

This grant program will fund research projects for up to four years that seek to develop new technologies that can optimize, automate, standardize, and validate measures of molecular and cellular events that are relevant to brain function. These high-throughput tools should allow efficient screening of small molecules, peptides, or genetic perturbations, according to NIH.

Examples of the kinds of tools NIMH and NINDS wish to support include, but are not limited to, medium- and high-throughput quantitative proteomic analyses for relevant neurobiological preparations; screens that combine proteomic, genetic, and/or chemical approaches to measure functional molecular and/or cellular phenotypes; use of microfluidic control of the chemical environment to monitor and manipulate neuronal development and circuit formation; innovative assays for rescue of cell/molecular phenotypes associated with psychiatric or neurological disorders; novel medium- and high-throughput assays measuring specific neurobiological functions suitable for screens using genetic, chemical, siRNA, or peptide libraries, and others.