College of Liberal Arts

The Dana Foundation, Brain and Immuno-Imaging

Thursday Jan 13, 2011

LIMITED SUBMISSION

Sponsor: The Dana Foundation, Brain and Immuno-Imaging; “Using Brain and Immune Imaging Innovations to Improve Human Health”

Materials are due electronically to Jeff Meserve (meserve@austin.utexas.edu) by Thursday, January 13, 2011 @ noon.
Please submit:

  • Two page maximum lay abstract describing the aims of/needs for the proposed project
  • PI's biosketch, highlighting research trajectory and grant history

Eligibility:
Support is focused on faculty researchers who have demonstrated the potential for independent research careers who are at the assistant professor level, or in the first few years of their associate professor appointments. Post-doctoral fellows are not eligible to apply. Applications from junior investigators that are an extension of the work of a senior mentor, particularly if from the same institution, are discouraged.
For both conventional and cellular imaging proposals, promising career investigators who have not yet been awarded more than one independent research grant (R01 from the NIH or equivalent from another Federal agency) are eligible to apply for funding of up to $200,000 payable over three years.  
Previous applicants are eligible to reapply. Projects involving collaborations with NIH intramural researchers or industry scientists are acceptable.

Program description:
This program, as in all Dana research programs, is oriented to the human. Submitted proposals, therefore, should focus on imaging in patients or patient tissues, and healthy volunteers.
Animal model studies of brain conditions or injuries will be considered only if they relate directly to the human but cannot yet feasibly be undertaken in humans, and are anticipated to be translated into the human following the three-year grant period.
Such studies directly relating to the human include: 1) studies of normal brain anatomy and physiology in the animal model that can help to better understand the roles of cells and networks in specific cognitive functions and how these are altered by disease and injury; and 2) studies of animal models of human diseases, either through insertion of human genes or through naturally occurring or induced disease states, that are directly related to the human condition. Specific criteria are listed in the section on Eligibility.
Previously funded studies under this Program have  focused primarily on 1) understanding normal brain functioning, how it is altered by disease or injury, and how it recovers or repairs, 2) assessing and improving diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, and 3) refining and advancing imaging technologies to address specific clinical questions.  In addition to these three general areas of continued interest, it is becoming increasingly apparent that neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression start long before they are clinically evident.  The Foundation, therefore, encourages studies that seek to understand developmental processes of disease, surrogate measures of early disease existence, and measures of disease progression.
Studies  should be designed  to obtain meaningful data within the grant award period of up to three years.
All applicants please note:
• All proposals that seek to develop new imaging techniques or assays, or modify existing ones to address clinical questions, whether in conventional or cellular/ molecular imaging, must provide preliminary evidence of feasibility and evidence of the investigator’s experience in using the technology. Proposals seeking support without such preliminary evidence will not be considered.
• Investigators proposing patient-oriented studies should provide preliminary evidence that the required number of participants—patients and controls—are available at the research institution(s) involved.
• For all proposals that do not propose to undertake studies in humans, the direct relevance to human health and functioning needs to  be explicitly stated. These proposed studies will only be considered if they are designed: 1) pose a specific question concerning the disease process that is directly related to known aspects of brain pathology seen in the human; 2) alter a factor in a healthy animal for which there is some evidence of the factor’s involvement in a human disease process (as opposed to altering a factor in a healthy animal to see if the result resembles a human brain disease); and 3) be anticipated to be translated into studies in the human following the three-year grant period.   
• Certain areas are not appropriate for consideration:
       - Ideas for which you do not have preliminary data.
       - Instrument development without initial evidence of feasibility and clinical applicability.

Program Guidelines:  The complete solicitation can be viewed here: http://www.dana.org/grants/detail.aspx?id=1264

Limitation: The Foundation invites submission of one preliminary application per invited institution (see eligibility), using either:
• Conventional imaging - anatomical imaging of white or gray matter and measures of physiological functioning. These proposed studies should focus on patient-oriented clinical research.
• Cellular/molecular imaging - biochemical actions of specific brain cells, or their interactions with immune cells with direct clinical relevance to human health and disease. These studies may involve human tissues or animal models. Applications can involve the study of cells within neural circuits, using a combination of imaging and single cell electrical recording, if the techniques have already been developed.

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