Notices of Special Interest (NOSI): High Priority Areas in Genetics, Epigenetics, and Developmental Neuroscience Branch in the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

April 14, 2022

First Available Due Date:
June 05, 2022
Expiration Date:
September 08, 2025

Related Announcements

PA-20-183 - NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Required)

PA-20-185- NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-184– NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required)

Issued by

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


The mission of the Division of Neuroscience and Behavior (DNB) is to discover, facilitate and promote outstanding basic animal and human research aimed at identifying the causes and consequences of drug addiction across the lifespan and to guide treatment strategies. The Genetics, Epigenetics, and Development (GED) Branch within DNB supports research on the genetics, epigenetics, and developmental mechanisms that underlie addiction and substance use disorders (SUD).

Research areas of general interest include but are not limited to:

  • human and animal genetic studies of vulnerability to addiction,
  • molecular genetics and genomic studies related to the response to addictive drugs,
  • epigenetic mechanisms of substance use disorders and addiction,
  • cell biology studies of addiction,
  • development of neural pathways and brain structures that mediate SUDs and addiction and
  • bioinformatic approaches to better model the genetics of SUDs, including data integration, methods development, epistasis analysis, and machine learning.

Research areas of special interest include but are not limited to:

Biomarker Signatures for the Treatment of Nicotine and Tobacco Use Disorderse:

Identify genetic, epigenetic, metabolomic, microbiotic, and other omic signatures that can be used as as clinical endpoints for the diagnosis and treatment of tobacco and nicotine use disorders. These biomarkers should not be those already validated for clinical use.

Omics, Machine Learning, and AI for Precision Medicine to Diagnose and Treat Opioid Use Disorder

Developing biochemical tests or biomarkers to predict, diagnose, and provide clinical endpoints for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). It is anticipated that the integration of genetics and omics data from the epigenome, transcriptome, and microbiome, transcriptomics, the proteome, and metabolome from brain and different peripheral tissues, secretions, and circulating vesicles using machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches can potentially predict who will become addicted to opioids and define biological changes and objective endpoints for development of treatments. Determine if integrated omics signatures would differentiate between opioid use and (OUD) and predict relapse of drug seeking behavior among abstinent individuals with a lifetime diagnosis of OUD

Program Contact: Jontahan D. Pollock, Ph.D.,, 301-435-1309

From Genome‐wide Association Studies (GWAS) to Causality for Addictions and Associated Traits

Employing big data, machine learning, and novel genetic approaches to identify causal variants for traits associated with addiction to various substances including nicotine and tobacco, opioids, and cannabinoids

Program Contact: Jonathan D. Pollock, Ph.D.,, 301-435-1309

Leveraging Functional Approaches to Speed Discovery of Genetic Loci for Substance Use Disorder

Methods that leverage AI, omics data, and or animal genetics data that identifies the same loci as the larger GWAS study using a smaller sample randomly picked from the larger GWAS, leveraging omics and AI methods to increase power. Applications should apply these methods to a study on the genetics of SUD.

Program Contact: Jonathan D. Pollock, Ph.D.,, 301-435-1309

Substance Use Disorders Knowledge Base (SUDKB)

Developing a comprehensive platform containing databases relevant to SUDs and bioinformatics tools. The integrated platform will capture all available curated data at the chemical, biochemical, cellular, circuit, and behavioral levels, including clinical data. This open source, controlled access knowledge base will incorporate all currently available data on known drugs of abuse as well as drugs used for the treatment of drug abuse. The development of this knowledge base and its integration with analysis and prediction tools in a readily accessible portal will facilitate drug abuse research and accelerate the discovery of targets, pathways, and lead molecules for the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of SUDs.

Program Contact: Susan Wright, Ph.D.,, 301-402-6683

Effects of Addictive Drugs on Placental Biology and Consequences for the Fetus

Measuring the effects of exposure to addictive drugs (either single or polysubstance use) on the placenta and fetal brain. Investigators are encouraged to develop non-invasive methods to reliably identify, quantify and determine the effects of drug exposure on the placenta and fetal brain and long-term consequences. This may include changes of placental structure and function, expression of receptors and transporters, transport activity of nutrients, exchange of gases; elimination of metabolic waste by-products; and endocrine/hormone production.

Program contact: Da-Yu Wu, Ph.D.,, 301-435-4649

Endocannabinoids, Cannabinoids and Other Substances in Fetal Brain Development

Examining the effects of cannabinoids alone or with other addictive substances on the developing brain, from pre-, peri-, to post-natal brain development using human cell-based platforms or animal models. The endocannabinoid system plays important roles in central nervous system development, including neuronal and glial cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, and synaptogenesis in the embryonic and fetal developmental stages. Prenatal cannabinoid exposure alters fetal brain development by affecting the endocannabinoid system and dysregulating the dopaminergic, GABAergic, and opioidergic neurotransmitter systems. Research is critically needed to advance our understanding of the roles of endocannabinoid system in the developing brain, the effects of cannabinoids in the absence and presence of other drugs of abuse during fetal brain development, and the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these interactions.

Program contact: Da-Yu Wu, Ph.D.,, 301-435-4649

Application and Submission Information

This notice applies to due dates on or after June 5, 2022 and subsequent receipt dates through September 8, 2025. 

Submit applications for this initiative using one of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or any reissues of these announcement through the expiration date of this notice.

  • PA-20-183 - NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Required)
  • PA-20-185 - NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • PA-20-184– NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Basic Experimental Studies with Humans Required)

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement used for submission must be followed, with the following additions:

  • For funding consideration, applicants must include “NOT-DA-23-004” (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4B will not be considered for this initiative.

Applications nonresponsive to terms of this NOSI will not be considered for the NOSI initiative.


Please direct all inquiries to the Scientific/Research, Peer Review, and Financial/Grants Management contacts in Section VII of the listed funding opportunity announcements.

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Jonathan D. Pollock, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-435-1309

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Pam Fleming
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-480-1159