BRAIN Initiative: Notice of Support for Research on the Fundamental Neurobiology of Endogenous Opioid Systems

Notice Number: NOT-DA-18-046

Key Dates
Release Date:October 9, 2018

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Eye Institute (NEI)

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)


The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is aimed at revolutionizing neuroscience through development and application of innovative technologies to map neural circuits, monitor and modulate their activity, and understand how they contribute to thoughts, sensations, emotions and behavior. NIH has issued a variety of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) that will support projects that apply technologies to understand neural circuit function in the context of specific circuits, resulting in a diverse portfolio of research into the fundamental biology of nervous system function.

This announcement is to inform the research community that NIH welcomes applications that leverage tools and technology emerging from the BRAIN Initiative towards elucidating the mechanisms by which endogenous opioid systems regulate sensory processing, affect and cognition as appropriate to the goals and requirements of specific BRAIN Initiative FOAs. The overuse of opioids has created a public health crisis, and the NIH is responding to this crisis through conventional Institute and Center appropriations and special programs such as the HEAL Initiative . However, because the BRAIN Initiative specifically aims to understand how neural circuit activity translates to sensory, emotional and cognitive functions and opioids produce their effects by engaging the endogenous opioid circuits that normally regulate these same functions, BRAIN is uniquely positioned to advance knowledge in this area. Examples of research that could be supported include the use of the innovative tools and technology to profile transcriptome and methylome of opioid-related neurons , live imaging of intracellular signaling cascades to identify spatiotemporal aspects of cellular signaling engaged by opioid receptor activation, brain-wide optical imaging of cellular activity and cell-types engaged by opioids under different conditions, changes in connectivity and network activity across the trajectory of opioid use assessed by optical imaging or multiplexed high density electrophysiological recording. Because chronic opioid use disrupts cognitive functions and emotional regulation to the extent of being a risk to survival, the study of the opioid-dependent brain presents an unique opportunity to discover how reprogramming of neural substrates and circuits translates to reprogramming of motivation, mood and decision-making processes.

Interested parties should check information on goals and requirements of specific BRAIN FOAs that may be appropriate, and contact Scientific/Program staff listed in the text of the respective announcements. For a list of active and upcoming FOAs, see .


Please direct all inquiries to:

Olivier Berton, PhD
National Institute of Drug Abuse
Telephone: (301) 827-7771