Technology Development

Overview

The Technology Development program covers the following areas: Large Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System, Next Generation Human Brain Imaging, New Tools for Non-invasive Brain Stimulation, Cell and Circuit-specific Targeting and Analysis, and Integrative Approaches to Brain Circuit Analysis. These FOAs range from small, exploratory, or proof of concept, to development and finally, optimization within each area. 

Large Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System 

The primary goal of these FOAs is to enable new capabilities for in vivo experiments, at or near cellular resolution, in animal models. Neural activity is defined broadly to include electrical activity, neurotransmitter and neuropeptide signaling, as well as plasticity and intracellular signaling events. The technologies funded through these FOAs represent diverse modalities including optical, electrical, magnetic, acoustic and genetic recording/manipulation.

  • New Concepts and Early - Stage Research for Large - Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System (RFA-EY-18-001; R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) 
  • New Technologies and Novel Approaches for Large-Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System (RFA-NS-18-020; R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • Optimization of Transformative Technologies for Large Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System (RFA-NS-18-019; U01 Clinical Trials Not Allowed)  

Next Generation Human Brain Imaging

The goal of these FOAs is to support technology development of entirely new or next generation non-invasive human brain imaging tools and methods that will accelerate discovery and lead to transformative advances in our understanding of the human brain. 

  • Proof of Concept Development of Early Stage Next Generation Human Brain Imaging (RFA-EB-19-001; R01 Clinical Trials Not Allowed) 
  • Development of Next Generation Human Brain Imaging Tools and Technologies (RFA-EB-19-002; U01 Clinical Trials Not Allowed) 

New Tools for Non-invasive Brain Stimulation

The goal of this FOA is to develop novel tools and methods for non-invasive neuromodulation. The FOA encourages applicants to go beyond the standard electro-magnetic approaches for brain stimulation to develop new tools or to optimize existing technology. Exploration of dose-response was also supported in a previous FOA (see RFA-MH-17-245). 

  • Non-Invasive Neuromodulation - New Tools and Techniques for Spatiotemporal Precision (RFA-MH-20-310, R01 Clinical Trial Optional)

Cell and Circuit-Specific Targeting and Analysis

NIH has released a general call for tools and techniques to access and characterize the cells of the brain with cell-type and circuit-level specificity. The first FOA (Tools for Cell- and Circuit-Specific Processes) has supported a range of projects for accessing neurons and mapping their connections, as well as monitoring and manipulating their activity. Tools to target, identify, and characterize non-neuronal cells in the brain was also supported in a previous FOA (see RFA-DA-18-018). 

  • Development of Novel Tools to Probe Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in Human and Non-Human Primate Brain (RFA-MH-19-135; UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional)
  • Development and Validation of Novel Tools to Analyze Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in the Brain (RFA-MH-19-136; R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) 
  • Tools to Facilitate High-Throughput Microconnectivity Analysis (RFA-MH-20-135; R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) 

Integrative Approaches to Brain Circuit Analysis

The NIH BRAIN Initiative has a suite of FOAs to promote integrative approaches for understanding the brain through the dynamics of brain circuits, at the cellular and sub-second resolution, which give rise to mental experience and behavior. Each of these FOAs require theory-driven, quantitative approaches to provide a mechanistic understanding of brain circuits, resulting in predictive models as deliverables. The following FOA supports development of the analytical tools for these studies. This FOA also requires dissemination of the new theories, computational models, and statistical methods for the broader community.

  • Theories, Models and Methods for Analysis of Complex Data from the Brain (RFA-EB-17-005; R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) 

Development Optimization, and Validation of Novel Tools and Technologies for Neuroscience Research (SBIR/STTR)

The purpose of these FOAs is to support the development of novel tools and technologies in small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs to advance the field of neuroscience research. These FOAs specifically support the development of novel neurotechnologies as well as the translation of technologies developed through the BRAIN Initiative or through other funding programs, towards commercialization. Funding can support the iterative refinement of these tools and technologies with the end-user community, with an end-goal of scaling manufacture towards reliable, broad, sustainable dissemination and incorporation into regular neuroscience research.  

  • BRAIN Initiative: Development Optimization, and Validation of Novel Tools and Technologies for Neuroscience Research (SBIR) (PA-18-871; R43/R44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • BRAIN Initiative: Development Optimization, and Validation of Novel Tools and Technologies for Neuroscience Research (STTR) (PA-18-870; R41/R42 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Neuroethics

Some research that falls under the scope of the Technology Development Program may raise ethical challenges. These questions could relate to the research itself, or the long-term implications of developing new tools and neurotechnologies. For example, human brain imaging research may raise questions about privacy risks and data sharing. Research involving human neuromodulation may raise the question of whether and how participants should have continued access to neural devices (invasive or non-invasive) post-trial. The NIH BRAIN Initiative is committed to considering ethics in a serious and sustained manner. The NIH BRAIN Initiative encourages embedding neuroethicists in neuroscience projects and offers funding for neuroethics research projects. BRAIN Investigators with ethical questions may also consult the NIH BRAIN Initiative Neuroethics Working Group (https://www.braininitiative.nih.gov/about/neuroethics-working-group). For more information about neuroethics, see https://www.braininitiative.nih.gov/brain-programs/neuroethics.

Contact 

 

Large Scale Recording and Modulation in the Nervous System

Nick Langhals, Ph.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-1447

 

Theresa Cruz, Ph.D.
Eunice Kennedy ShriverNational Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Next Generation Human Brain Imaging

Shumin Wang, Ph.D.
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Telephone: 301-594-9001
Email: shumin.wang@nih.gov

New Tools for Non-invasive Brain Stimulation

David McMullen, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone: 301-451-0180
Email: 
david.mcmullen@nih.gov

Cell and Circuit-specific Targeting and Analysis

Olivier Berton, Ph.D.
National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-827-7771
Email: olivier.berton@nih.gov

Integrative Approaches to Brain Circuit Analysis

Grace C.Y. Peng, PhD
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) 
Telephone: 301-451-4778 

 

James Gnadt, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-9964
 

Development Optimization, and Validation of Novel Tools and Technologies for Neuroscience Research (SBIR/STTR)

Stephanie Fertig, MBA
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-496-1779
Email: fertigs@ninds.nih.gov

Margaret Grabb, PhD
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone:  301-443-3563
Email:  mgrabb@mail.nih.gov 

Neuroethics

Khara Ramos, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Telephone: 301-594-2614
 
Jay Churchill, PhD
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Telephone: 301-443-3621