Notice of Participation in PA-18-358, "NINDS Exploratory Neuroscience Research Grant (R21- Clinical Trial Optional)"
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

July 7, 2020

Related Announcements

PA-18-358,NINDS Exploratory Neuroscience Research Grant (R21- Clinical Trial Optional)

Issued by

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)


The purpose of this Notice is to inform potential applicants of NIMH's participation, effective immediately, in PA-18-358, " NINDS Exploratory Neuroscience Research Grant (R21- Clinical Trial Optional)" for the next receipt date of October 16, 2020.

The following sections of PA-18-358 have been updated to reflect the participation of NIMH in this Notice:

Part 1. Overview Information

Components of Participating Organizations

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Section I Funding Opportunity Description

Areas of scientific interest for the NIMH reflect the Neuroscience areas of priority as detailed in the NIMH Strategic Plan and found within the following divisions and offices.

The Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS) supports research programs in basic neuroscience, genetics, resource and technology development, and drug discovery. Examples of priorities include but are not limited to these topics:

  • Discover novel mechanisms of nervous system development (across genes, proteins, cells and circuitry) and signaling properties that underlie the emergence of cognition, emotion, and social behavior.
  • Develop and use innovative strategies, including genome-wide and comparative approaches, to discover genes and gene regulatory mechanisms underlying brain functions includingcognition, emotion, and social behavior.
  • Discover cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby hormones and immune molecules modulate signaling in brain circuits relevant to emotion regulation, cognition, and social behavior.
  • Develop and empirically evaluate computational and theoretical models that address plasticity of brain circuits during development impacting cognitive, affective, and social behaviors.
  • Research to elucidate genomic risk factors that underlie mental disorders.

The Division of Translational Research (DTR) supports research that translates knowledge from basic science to discover the etiology, pathophysiology, and trajectory of mental disorders and develops effective interventions for children and adults. Examples of priorities include but are not limited to these topics:

  • Delineate specific neural circuits contributing to one or more major mental disorders or subtypes of mental disorders.
  • Identify mechanisms (e.g., biological, behavioral, environmental) that confer vulnerability to psychiatric illnesses.
  • Discover novel targets for future therapeutic intervention by identifying causal relationships between neural circuits and symptom expression.
  • Delineate neurobehavioral mechanisms responsible for the development of psychopathology, including critical and sensitive periods in brain development and the effects of sex, behavior, and experience on the brain.
  • Assess the mechanisms of action of efficacious interventions in the brain in bench, pre-clinical context, or computational models.

The Division of AIDS Research (DAR) supports research on basic and clinical neuroscience of HIV infection. Examples of priorities include but are not limited to these topics:

  • Understand and decipher at a molecular level, how HIV and associated neuroimmune dysregulation impacts neuronal receptors, neuroendocrine milieu, neurotransmitters and synaptic plasticity in the context of HIV and anti-retroviral therapy.
  • Pre-clinical research studies to target neuroimmune dysregulation, blood brain barrier disruption and altered neuronal circuitry in individuals living with HIV and to decipher potential CNS toxicities associated of anti-retroviral therapy and other emergent treatments for HIV cure.
  • Support the use of state-of-the-art (epi)genetic approaches to identify and validate viral and host genetic factors that influence the pathophysiology and manifestations of HIV-induced CNS dysfunction.
  • Define and characterize HIV persistence in the CNS in the context of suppressive highly active antiretroviral therapy and foster translational research to enable eradication of HIV from the brain.

Office of Technology Development and Coordination (OTDC): Supports basic and applied research related to the development of scientific tools, technologies, and approaches related to brain and behavioral research.

Any Clinical Trial research submitted to NIMH under this R21 mechanism must follow the guidance noted by NIMH in NOT-MH-19-006. That is, NIMH supports hypothesis-driven mechanistic clinical trial studies in basic and/or translational discovery research in health human subjects and in the pathobiology, pathophysiology and psychopathology of mental disorders and in HIV infection of the central nervous system (CNS). The goal is to address basic questions and to interrogate concept in biology, behavior, and pathophysiology that will provide insight in to understanding mental health and mental disorders.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Susan Koester, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

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