NIH Funding Opportunities

 

Basket Clinical Trials of Drugs Targeting Shared Molecular Etiologies in Multiple Rare Diseases (U44 Clinical Trial Required)
(RFA-TR-21-010)
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
Application Receipt Date(s): April 13, 2021, September 13, 2021, January 12, 2022

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NIH Notices

Policy Notices

General Notices

  • BRAIN Initiative: Request for Information (RFI) on Development and Dissemination of Human Brain Imaging Technologies
    (NOT-NS-21-024)
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
    National Eye Institute
    National Institute on Aging
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
    National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
    Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
    National Institute on Drug Abuse
    National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
    National Institute of Mental Health

Notice of Changes to Funding Opportunities

Notices of Special Interest

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Biophysical and Biomechanical Aspects of Embryonic Development (R21)
(NOT-HD-21-004)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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Amazon announces $2.1 billion Housing Equity Fund

Ecommerce giant Amazon.com has announced a commitment of more than $2.1 billion in support of an in-house Housing Equity Fund and affordable housing initiatives in the Puget Sound region of Washington, as well as Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee.

With the goal of preserving or creating more than twenty thousand units of existing housing and new inclusive housing developments in the company’s three “headquarters regions,” the fund will provide $2 billion in below-market capital — in the form of loans, lines of credit, and grants — to affordable housing developers. Initial investments include below-market loans and grants of $381.9 million to the D.C.-based Washington Housing Conservancy to preserve and create up to thirteen hundred affordable units on the Crystal House property in Arlington and $185.5 million to the King County Housing Authority to preserve up to a thousand affordable units or homes in Washington State.

In addition, the fund will award $125 million in grants to minority-led organizations and public agencies working to create more inclusive solutions to the country’s affordable housing crisis, which disproportionately impacts communities of color.

“Washington Housing Conservancy disrupts a market cycle that leads to displacement and offers the kind of stability that lets residents focus on their future, instead of the uncertainty of escalating rents,” said the conservancy’s executive director, Kimberly Driggins. “With Amazon’s support, we are advancing our vision for inclusive, mixed-income communities of racially diverse middle-income and low-income families and individuals, to live near their employment and access high-performing schools and community amenities.”

(Photo credit: Amazon/Joel Flora)

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A home-court advantage – the importance of circadian rhythms and performance

Basketball fans are acutely aware of the power of home-court advantage, however the specific reasons behind this advantage are unclear. Researchers supported by grants from the NHLBI and the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health and Science University leveraged the unique disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to further investigate this phenomenon.

The specific reasons for the home-court advantage phenomenon have been difficult to study due to multiple variables pertaining to game situations and environment, as well as the effects of travel, which are all occurring at the same time. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Basketball Association (NBA) paused its season after approximately 64 games in March of 2020 and then resumed games approximately five months later with the top 22 teams isolated together (the “bubble”) to play eight games each to end the regular season. This change in the schedule, that eliminated travel by teams, provided a natural experiment where the researchers could assess the impact of travel and home-court advantage, especially the potential effects of disruptions of the internal body clock from jet-lag due to rapidly crossing time zones, as well as potentially poor sleep for the traveling teams. When traveling across the country into different time zones, the mismatch between the new time zone and a person’s home time zone has a physiological effect in a specific area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, also referred to as the master circadian clock. When performing activities that require precision, such as in sports, even slight disruptions in the master circadian clock could negatively affect performance.

The researchers used this unique opportunity to compare the performance of teams during travel before the COVID-19 pandemic with the performance of those same teams that were isolated together for several weeks at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. They retrospectively examined the 22 NBA teams invited to the regular season restart bubble and compared their winning and athletic performance among three playing scenarios: (1) games played at home before the COVID-19 shutdown (649 games total), (2) games played when traveling between zero and three time zones before the COVID-19 shutdown (715 games total), and (3) games played after all teams lived and played in the same location “bubble” for their final eight regular season games (176 games total). Game locations, team results, and statistics were obtained from the website, www.Basketball-Reference.com, where data are published by the official statistics provider of the NBA. The average age of the 22 teams that partook in the bubble was 25.6 years.

Using data collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers found that there were significant differences in performance among teams that traveled within their time zone as compared to those that traveled across time zones. Teams traveling across time zones had a lower winning percentage, shooting accuracy, and turnover percentage. Any traveling reduced the away teams’ offensive rebounding and increased the number of points scored by the home team, regardless of whether the game was played in their own time zone or three time zones away. This may be due to better sleep quality for players that were sleeping in their homes, which are more familiar to them, as compared to sleeping in a hotel. The decline in performance was most notable in the teams that were traveling from the east coast to the west coast.

When players started living and playing in the “bubble” with no travel nor home-court advantage, winning percentage, shooting accuracy, and rebounding were more similar to performance seen when playing with a home-court advantage. These results indicate that home-court advantage in professional basketball may be linked with the away team’s impaired shooting accuracy (less precision) and rebounding, which may be separately influenced by either circadian disruption or the general travel effects, since there were differential effects observed when teams travel within or across multiple time zones.

In summary, this study suggests that even small misalignments between the internal body clock and a new time zone can impact accuracy and impair performance. In this natural experiment the results indicated the home-court advantages may be a result of the away team’s reduced shooting accuracy when traveling multiple time zones and rebounding when traveling in general. These results have implications not only for professional basketball and other competitive sports but also for any activity that requires accuracy and precision performance.

Citation:
McHill AW, Chinoy ED. 2020. Utilizing the National Basketball Association’s COVID-19 restart “bubble” to uncover the impact of travel and circadian disruption on athletic performance. Sci Rep 10, 21827. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78901-2

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American Philosophical Society Invites Applications for Phillips Fund for Native American Research

The oldest learned society in the United States, the American Philosophical Society was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” Today, the society honors and engages leading scholars, scientists, and professionals; supports research and discovery; and serves scholars through a research library of enduring historic value.

To that end, the organization is inviting applications to its Phillips Fund for Native American Research program. Through the program, grants of up to $3,000 will be awarded in support of research in the areas of Native American linguistics, ethnohistory, and the history of Native Americans studies in the United States or Canada. Grants are intended to support travel, the cost of tape or film, and consultants’ fees. Grants are not made for projects in archaeology, ethnography, or psycholinguistics; for the purchase of permanent equipment; or for the preparation of pedagogical materials.

The organization prefers to support the work of younger scholars who have received their doctorate. Applications are also accepted from graduate students for research on master’s theses or doctoral dissertations.

See the American Philosophical Society website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.

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Pfizer Issues RFP for Inflammatory and Immune-Mediated Dermatologic Disorders Research

Pfizer has issued an RFP for Inflammatory and Immune-Mediated Dermatologic Disorders research.

Through the RFP, grants of up to $175,000 will be awarded in support of preclinical, clinical, and outcomes research with the intent to increase medical knowledge in the diagnosis and management of inflammatory and immune-mediated dermatologic disorders. Areas of research focus include mechanistic insights into the role of the JAK/STAT pathway in inflammatory dermatologic diseases; pharmacogenomic studies in atopic dermatitis to identify potential responders to JAK inhibition, including skin color; unmet need and burden of disease of alopecia areata and vitiligo; epidemiological studies in alopecia areata; validation of AD disease severity measures in skin of color; identification of inflammatory pathways related to the pathophysiology of alopecia areata and vitiligo; and identification of immunophenotypic differences in clinical course and treatment response of AD in skin of color.

To be eligible, applicants must have a medical or postdoctoral degree (MD, PhD, or equivalent), an advanced nursing degree (BSN with a MS/PhD), or a degree in pharmacy, physiotherapy, or social work. The institution and principal investigator (PI) must be based in the U.S.

See the Pfizer website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.

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Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund Accepting Applications From Conservation Organizations

The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund was established to provide targeted grants to individual species conservation initiatives, recognize leaders in the field, and elevate the importance of species in the broader conservation debate.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic consequences have caused financial challenges for many of its current grant recipients, particularly those who operate on a local level and are independent NGOs. Recognizing these difficulties and understanding the importance of the role local organizations play on the front lines of the conservation of species, the MBZ Fund is temporarily offering a Covid-19 Relief Grant in place of its standard small grants program. To that end, grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded to support the core operational costs of grassroots species conservation organizations that are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result, face personnel or financial constraints in conducting species conservation work in 2021.

Note that for this temporary period, applications from international NGOs, government-related entities, universities, and other academic institutions will not be eligible for funding. In addition, international travel, meetings (including Redlist workshops, conservation action plan workshops etc), and other costs that are not core operational costs in support of conservation work are not be eligible for funding.

See the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund for complete program guidelines and application instructions.

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Gilroy Foundation Invites Applications for Community Programs

The Gilroy Foundation was founded in 1980 to help meet the needs of the residents of Gilroy, California.

To that end, the foundation is inviting applications for its 2021 grants cycle. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of programs with the potential to contribute to the agricultural, artistic/cultural, civic, educational, environmental, health, recreational, and technological needs of Gilroy and the surrounding area, especially as they relate to the causes of urgent problems rather than merely their effect on society.

To be eligible for a grant, the proposed project or program must serve the City of Gilroy and organization itself must be tax exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or be a Gilroy public or private school, or city agency.

Applications can be downloaded from the foundation’s website and must emailed to info@gilroyfoundation.org no later than 5:00 P.M. by February 1, 2021.

See the Gilroy Foundation website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.

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Children gain weight when new convenience stores open nearby

Determinants of obesity have been examined at many levels, but policies and interventions typically target individual factors in order to improve community health. However, evidence on community level factors such as food environments influence on weight is more limited. This study funded by NICHHD, NHLBI, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, aims to understand the relationship between changes in food store availability and changes in weight status using prospective cohort design by investigating availability of different types of small retail outlets selling food, such as convenience stores and grocery stores, and impact on children’s weight in low income minority communities.

In this study, two low income cohorts of children (n=449, male= 53.2%, non-Hispanic Black= 48.3%) ages three to fifteen years old living in New Jersey cities of Camden, New Brunswick, Newark, and Trenton were studied. The New Jersey Child Health Study was designed using a natural experiment framework to investigate changes in the environment over a two to five-year period. Survey data were collected in the four cities between 2009 and 2017. Demographic data on children’s and other household members’ heights and weights, behaviors, and perceptions of community environment were collected using computer aided telephone interviews in English and Spanish.

A longitudinal home address database was used to identify and track the change in location of the children’s home address during the study, and all addresses were subsequently geocoded. The food environment around a child’s home was calculated for each month between the two timepoints using the home address and the data on community food environment. The predictor variable was constructed using geocoded addresses of all residencies. Origin-destination matrix, numbers of food outlets up to a one mile-buffer in the child’s residence, and number of months between time points were used to conduct the analysis. Differences in average monthly counts between the two timepoints were taken to determine change in food environment over time. Proportional-odds cumulative logit regression models were used to assess distance and length of food environment exposure variables.

At timepoint one, 25% of children were classified as obese based on zBMI measurements (measure of relative body mass index adjusted for child age and sex), calculated using parent-reported height and weight. Weight change was measured between the two timepoints using three weight change categories. zBMI did not change in 41.2% of children, decreased in 33.6% of children, and increased in 25.2% of children.

In addition, food outlets were categorized based on previous literature as supermarkets, small grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, full-service restaurants, or limited service restaurants. This study found that if a convenience store was added within 24 months after the first time point, the child had 11.7% higher odds of having a higher zBMI (P=0.007). This relationship was statistically significant (P < 0.05) when convenience stores were examined within a one-mile radius (where confidence intervals are smaller due to a higher prevalence of change) for all time periods of exposure, and the pattern was consistent across models representing other distance/length of exposure combinations. Statistically significant evidence suggest children were less likely to have increases in zBMI scores with exposure to small grocery stores compared to other types of food outlets.

Increased exposure to convenience stores was associated with less healthy weight changes (higher zBMI) in children over time and provides evidence of the link between unhealthy outcomes and closer distance to convenience stores. Children’s exposure to nearby small grocery stores, which contained healthier food, over time observed less increase in zBMI change. The findings provide evidence for improving the food environment by increasing access to food outlets like small grocery stores in low income communities which may impact childhood obesity in communities with unhealthy food environments. This may inform food environment policies needed to address childhood obesity in low income communities in other areas of the United States.

Citation:
Ohri-Vachaspati P, Acciai F, Lloyd K, Tulloch D, DeWeese RS, DeLia D, Todd M, Yedidia MJ. Evidence That Changes in Community Food Environments Lead to Changes in Children’s Weight: Results from a Longitudinal Prospective Cohort Study. J Acad Nutr Diet. doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2020.10.016

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Brainwave activity connects experiences and expectations during memory recall

A certain frequency of brainwave activity may help us set expectations by comparing our current experience to previous memories of similar experiences. Intramural research conducted by NINDS on patients with epilepsy found that feedforward brain signals, which convey ‘bottom-up’ sensory information to more evolved brain regions (in this case, the neocortex and the medial temporal lobe), can establish a connection with a single visual experience.

Prior research has shown that predictive coding is used by the brain to process common sensory information, such as the sight of green grass or sounds of common bird chirps in our environment. Predictive coding assumes that the prediction of sensory input after exposure to new stimuli involves higher-order neural circuits sending feedback to lower-order neural circuits within the neocortex of the brain. This in turn predicts that the brain uses more energy, or neural activity, to process new information than for old information. This study sought to determine whether the brain used similar predictive coding during the recall of contextual memories by creating an internal model of the world in order to predict future environmental input. Specifically, this study focused on recollection of episodic memory, a type of long-term memory that involves conscious recollection of previous experiences along with the context of time, place, and emotions.

Fourteen participants (seven males, 40.9 ± 12 years) with drug-resistant epilepsy that had been previously implanted with grids of electrodes to diagnose and treat their seizures were included in this study. Patients were asked to memorize a set of four natural scenes on a computer screen, such as a brown bicycle leaning upright on a kickstand in front of a green bush. A few seconds later, a new set of four images were shown; some the same as before, some modified such as a color change or additional object. When asked whether they recognized the scene or noticed a change in the scene, patients successfully recognized 88% of the repeated scenes, 68% of the scenes that were missing something, and 65% of the scenes with a new addition. 82% of the additions and 70% of removals were successfully located in the scene. Interestingly, participants eyes’ frequently fixated on new scene additions (83% of the time) but rarely fixated on areas in which an object was removed (34% of the time).

When researchers looked at the electrical recordings of participants’ brains, they found that brainwave activity differed between when patients successfully remembered a scene that had been previously shown and when they spotted a change to the scene. Both cases prompted a rise of high-frequency brainwaves in the visual processing brain center (occipital cortex) immediately followed by brain activity in the memory brain center (medial temporal lobe). This same brainwave pattern was repeated when the participant saw the scene again, whether the new scene was identical to the earlier scene or slightly modified. However, when patients recognized a change to a scene, the same feedforward brain activity between the occipital and temporal lobe was stronger, indicative of a prediction error signal, and was accompanied by a lower frequency wave. This suggests that our expectations of visual experience are controlled by a feedback loop between the visual cortex and medial temporal lobe, which is amplified when our new experience does not match our expectations. In addition, this lower frequency wave may be responsible for updating our memories.

This data demonstrates how episodic memories can establish expectations based on previous experiences in order to compare to future experiences. In fact, these predictions can be developed after a single exposure to a visual stimulus, suggesting that every experience that we encode into memory may be setting our expectations and predictions for our future actions. As a result, these findings inform future research that will allow us to better understand how the brain portrays reality under healthy and disease conditions.

Citation:
Haque RU, Inati SK, Levey AI, Zaghloul KA 2020. Feedforward prediction error signals during episodic memory retrieval. Nature Communication. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19828-0

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William T. Grant Foundation Invites Applications for Youth Service Improvement Grant

The William T. Grant Foundation‘s Youth Service Improvement Grants (YSIG) program supports activities aimed at improving the quality of direct services for young people between the ages of 5 and 25 in the five boroughs of New York City. The goal is to strengthen existing services by helping youth-serving nonprofit organizations address challenges or remedy problems at the point of service, where staff and youth interact.

The YSIG program is aligned with the foundation’s broader focus on reducing inequality in youth outcomes. Inequality in New York City is multifaceted, reflected in racial and economic segregation across boroughs and neighborhoods, in inadequate services for Mexican-descent youth and LGBTQ youth, and in a lack of racial, ethnic, gender identity, and sexual-orientation diversity among executive directors and CEOs of youth-serving organizations. We seek to improve the programming of youth-serving nonprofit organizations that confront these challenges.

Applicants should describe their organization’s mission and the current youth programming that they propose to improve. The application should clearly describe a challenge or problem at the program’s point of service, outline how the organization identified the problem, and explain how the problem adversely affects the experiences or outcomes of youth participants. Next, the application should propose a specific, standalone improvement plan to address the issue, improve the targeted programming, and yield a positive effect on participants’ experiences. Strong proposals will make the case that the quality of youth services would improve if the issue were resolved, and will clearly describe a feasible, sustainable, and appropriate improvement. Examples of problem areas for improvement include inadequate curriculum, gaps in the service skills of frontline staff, or a limitation in current services that adversely affects participants’ experiences. Beyond these examples, we welcome other compelling needs for service improvement.

Awards are $25,000 each and will support projects lasting one year, starting September 1, 2021. Although the foundation is prepared to fully fund projects of $25,000, it is also willing to co-fund larger improvement efforts with other funders. Regardless of the size of the budget for the improvement project, the foundation encourages applicants to commit some of their own resources through in-kind support or the use of unrestricted funds. The foundation views this action as an indication of organizational commitment to the improvement project.

The foundation will award up to six new Youth Service Improvement Grants annually.

In addition to providing grant support, grantees will participate in technical assistance activities designed to help them meet their improvement project goals. The technical assistance provider will provide one-on-one support as well as learning community cohort meetings over the term of the grant. One-on-one support will allow each grantee to receive customized assistance that will help them work toward the successful implementation of the improvement project. The learning community cohort meetings will focus on peer-based learning and coaching, allowing grantees to discuss challenges, seek advice from peers and colleagues, and collaborate across projects in a supportive space.

All YSIG applicants must be youth-serving nonprofit organizations based in one of the five boroughs of New York City whose staff have direct programmatic contact with youth at the point of service. Applicants also must be tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; have an operating budget between $250,000 and $5 million (if the organization serves youth only), or less than $20 million if the organization serves youth and other populations; have its most recent financial statements reviewed by an auditor, per New York State law requirement (if the organization’s annual budget is under $750,000, then certified public accountant’s reviewed financial statements are required); and have filed IRS Form 990.

The program only supports improvement activities at the point of service for youth. Organizations previously funded under the YSIG program cannot apply again for at least eighteen months after the end of their award.

For additonal details, see the William T. Grant Foundation website.

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NIH Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunities

Cellular Senescence Network: Consortium Organization and Data Coordinating Center (U24 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
(RFA-RM-21-010)
Office of Strategic Coordination (Common Fund)
Application Receipt Date(s): March 08, 2021

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NIH Notices

General Notices

Notice of Changes to Funding Opportunities

Notices of Special Interest

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Explore RePORTER’s State Map Visualizations

Ever find yourself wondering what and how much research NIH supports near you? Check out what the modernized RePORTER site has to offer in three easy steps!

RePORTER’s main search page offers a new map visualization, highlighting active NIH projects by state. As first mentioned in this NIH Open Mike post from October, these maps are fast and interactive so you can dive into the results in your local area. Let’s take Texas as an example. Hovering your mouse cursor over the state, it shows 3,948 projects are active, totaling $1,976,727,849 in funding (Figure 1).

 Figure 1 displays a mouse hovering over Texas (HIGHLIGHTED IN YELLOW) in a map of the United States.

Figure 1

Going deeper, if you click on Texas, you can filter results for Congressional district, principal investigator, awardee organization, fiscal year, or administering NIH Institute(s) or Center(s). Darker colors (compared to lighter shaded areas) indicate more funding in that district (Figure 2).

Figure 2 is a screenshot showing the Congressional districts of Texas in varying shades of blue and green, with the rest of the country grayed out.

Figure 2

Focusing on central Texas, we can learn even more about its 21st Congressional district and the organizations NIH is supporting (Figure 3). From there, you can scroll down to read the project titles and learn more about individual projects.

Figure 3 displays how to select funding data for different districts, with a pin placed at Texas’ 21st congressional district.

Figure 3

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All About Grants Podcast: Human Subjects’ Research Post-Award

So you have confirmed that you are doing human subjects’ research after listening to the first podcast in our human subject mini-series. And you have a clear human subjects’ protection and monitoring plan developed for your application after tuning in to the second episode in the series. Now, what should you keep in mind after the award is made?

photo of Lyndi Lahl

Lyndi Lahl, R.N., NIH Human Subjects’ Officer

The latest NIH All About Grants podcast episode delves into just this issue (MP3 / Transcript). Lyndi Lahl, R.N., an NIH Human Subjects’ Officer, joins us (and her dog too!) in this final episode of this human subjects’ research mini-series. Tune in for tips about important post-award requirements, what’s needed for annual progress reporting, engaging your IRB and NIH when a protocol change is needed, the difference between adverse events and unanticipated problems, and much more.

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