BRAIN and BEHAVIOR INITIATIVE WEEKLY DIGEST

July 29, 2019


News

Researchers have found that a mild gut infection can result in motor symptoms and brain pathology resembling Parkinson’s disease in mice that carry a gene mutation known to be associated with the disorder in humans. The findings indicate that a window of time exists for treating some forms of Parkinson's, and they add further weight to accumulating evidence implicating the gut-brain axis in Parkinson's disease.
Children with autism spectrum disorder can have a difficult time expressing their emotions and can be highly sensitive to sound, sight, and touch. That sometimes restricts their participation in everyday activities, leaving them socially isolated. In a recent study, however, researchers used robots to model socially acceptable responses in particular contexts in order to help these children navigate challenging sensory experiences.
For years, scientists thought the brain lacked a lymphatic system, raising questions about how fluid, macromolecules, and immune cells escape the organ. Now, researchers have shown that there is a hot spot of meningeal lymphatic vessels at the base of the rodent skull that is specialized to drain cerebrospinal fluid and allow proteins and other large molecules to leave the brain.
Recent research has uncovered new neurobiology associated with mosquito vision and sense of smell. The findings explain how Aedes aegypti mosquitoes track their victims and can
adjust their hunting routines in response to host cues. Ultimately, this analysis of how mosquitoes process information is crucial to figuring out how to engineer better baits and traps for mosquito control, helping to reduce the spread of such viruses as dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika fever.
While the first third of this week's show addresses a new technology that allows scientists to breed honeybees better able to defend themselves against a pernicious mite, the portion of the podcast beginning at 14m40s contains an interview with Philip Kragel, a researcher working on artificial intelligence and emotion. By training AI to recognize the emotional content of an image, Kragel suggests, scientists hope to assess to what extent emotion is the result of individual psychological processes and to what extent emotion is contained in visual input alone.
While newer generations of neural interface devices are increasingly sophisticated, featuring improved spatial resolution as well as sensing and stimulation across more electrode channels, metrics like functionality and bio-friendliness are hard to achieve and tscale at the same time on current device platforms. Now, at least one NSF Faculty Early CAREER Award will help develop a multifunctional neural interface device that is highly flexible, scalable, clinically translatable, and bio-friendly. 

Calendar of Events

No events this week

Funding Announcements

New FOA are listed below. Please visit bbi.umd.edu/news/FOA for the complete list of open Funding Announcements.
 
New! The National Hearing and Research Foundation invites applications for its Hearing and Balance Research to investigate aspects of the auditory and vestibular systems including but not limited to genetics, neurotology, anatomy, auditory processing, molecular and cellular biology, therapeutic studies, and investigations of current or experimental devices. Applications due August 15, 2019.
 
New! The Russell Sage Foundation invites applications for its Decision Making and Human Behavior inContext initiative to support innovative research on decision making across the social sciences that examines causes, consequences, processes, or context from a behavioral or alternative perspective. Letters of Inquiry due August 21, 2019.
 
New! The Department of the Army invites applications to conduct Complex Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Research to 1) develop and validate rehabilitation outcome measures; 2) systematically analyze standard of care cognitive interventions to identify optimal treatment ingredients; and 3) improve clinician-driven assessment strategies to guide RTD decision-making. There are two separate opportunities, one for Clinical Research and another for Clinical Trials. Pre-applications due September 10, 2019.
 
New! The American Psychological Foundation invites applications for its David H. and Beverly A. Barlow Grant to support innovative basic and clinical research on anxiety and anxiety related disorders. Eligibility is restricted to graduate students or early career researchers affiliated with nonprofit charitable, educational, and scientific institutions, or governmental entities operating exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Applications due September 15, 2019.

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