Notice of Interest in Advancing Research in Acute Flaccid Myelitis and Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Notice Number: NOT-NS-19-029

Key Dates
Release Date: December 20, 2018

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)


A recent increase in cases of a polio-like illness in children called Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) has drawn attention to gaps in understanding of its causes and treatment. Both AFM and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) are rare neurological conditions characterized by acute onset muscle weakness or paralysis believed to be triggered by an infectious agent. Affected individuals may lose the ability to walk and disrupted breathing can be life threatening. With currently available treatments, recovery is often incomplete resulting in long-term neurological deficits.

The purpose of this Notice is to announce that the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Eunice Kennedy ShriverNational Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) encourage new applications and request for supplements to existing grants (competitive revisions or administrative supplements) to support basic, translational, and/or clinical research on the causes, diagnosis, prevention or treatment of AFM, GBS and other acute neurological conditions of muscle weakness/paralysis triggered by infectious agents or related immune responses. Applications should be submitted through the “parent” funding opportunity announcements (FOAs), or through existing FOAs supported by NINDS, NIAID, or NICHD. Areas of programmatic interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Identifying the etiology of these neurological conditions, including infectious agents, immunological factors, or other genetic or environmental susceptibility factors
  • Understanding the pathogenesis of these neurological conditions in the central and peripheral nervous systems or musculoskeletal system. This might include natural history studies of cases to study the acute disease and long-term sequelae
  • Characterizing the immunologic landscape (e.g., immune profiling, genome sequencing) among AFM- or GBS-affected individuals and determining the relationship of related immune responses to disease
  • Developing model systems (e.g. animal, cell or organ culture) to study pathogenesis and serve as screening platforms for more reliable diagnosis, prevention or therapy development
  • Diagnosing these conditions, including infectious agent detection, serology, genetics, imaging- or electrophysiology-based techniques
  • Developing biomarkers (diagnostic, prognostic, predictive or pharmacodynamic/response) for use in preclinical therapy development or clinical studies of these conditions
  • Developing treatments, including potential novel therapies or drug/biologic repurposing
  • Testing strategies for the rehabilitation of patients affected by these conditions, including conventional and novel modalities, intense physiotherapies, and/or assistive technologies.

A variety of Parent and institute-specific FOAs are available for applicants, including Research (R), Cooperative Agreement (U), Career Development (K), and Fellowship (F) awards in which NINDS, NIAID, or NICHD participate (see NINDS funding opportunities; see NICHD funding opportunities (( and active FOAs ( Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the program staff listed below for guidance in selecting an appropriate FOA.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Adam L. Hartman, M.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke Neuroscience Center
Telephone: 301-496-9135

Bill G. Kapogiannis, M.D.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development
Telephone: 301-402-0698

Walla Dempsey, Ph.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Telephone: 240-292-4197