BRAIN and BEHAVIOR INITIATIVE WEEKLY DIGEST

September 9, 2019


News

According to a new study, the neurobiological pathophysiology of schizophrenia differs significantly between males and females. Researchers investigated the differences in gene and protein expression in neurons from identical twins discordant for schizophrenia and healthy controls, as well as between males and females. The study is the first to use neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, which were generated from participants' skin cells.
The National Science Foundation has invested $36 million in the first set of projects under its Understanding the Rules of Life portfolio. These awards are aimed at accelerating development in two key areas of science and engineering research: building a synthetic cell and epigenetics. The grants bring together interdisciplinary teams of researchers -- from biologists and chemists to computer and social scientists -- to begin uncovering the Rules of Life and using these to predict how an organism will look and behave.
In the thousands of years living with dogs, humans have transformed them from fearsome wolves to tail-wagging Frisbee catchers ranging in size from tiny pomeranians to towering great Danes. Now, a new study of dogs’ brain scans suggests that our impact has been more profound than these physical changes. Researchers identified six networks of brain regions that tended to be bigger or smaller from dog to dog, and that varied in tandem with each other. This pattern led to the hypothesis that the regions were probably working together in different behaviors.
Researchers have recently combined two large-scale datasets to produce a first draft model of the rules guiding neuron-to-neuron connectivity of a whole mouse neocortex. Based on these rules, scientists were able to generate statistical instances of the micro-connectome of 10 million neurons, a model that will serve as the basis of the world’s largest-scale simulations of detailed neural circuits.
This article from September's Scientific American explores the consequences of extending the idea that perception is never a direct window onto an objective reality. Perhaps once we can better appreciate the diversity of experienced realities scattered among the billions of perceiving brains on this planet, we will find new platforms on which to build a shared understanding and a better future.
Recently published research supported by NIMH and NIDA sheds light on how our brains process visual information with emotional features by incorporating machine-learning innovations and human brain-imaging. Also, scientists funded by NIH recently published findings that add insight into motivation and reward research by elucidating the neural pathways involved in giving up.

Calendar of Events

Applied Dynamics Seminar
Speaker: Woodrow Shew (University of Arkansas)
Title: "Strong neuron-to-body coupling implies weak neuron-to-neuron coupling in motor cortex"
Date: Thursday, September 12, 2019
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: 1207 Energy Research Facility
 
Cognitive Science Colloquium
Speaker: Alejandro Lleras (University of Illinois)
Title: "Parallel Peripheral Processing in Visual Search"
Date: Thursday, September 12, 2019
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: 1103 Bioscience Research Building
 
NACS Seminar
Speaker: Elena Plante (University of Arizona)
Title: "Language learning from the brain out"
Date: Friday, September 13, 2019
Time: 10:15 a.m.
Location: 1103 Bioscience Research Building

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 Ataxia Foundation invites applications to its Young Investigator Awards program invigorating ataxia research by encouraging talented young clinical and scientific investigators to pursue a career in the field of ataxia research. Letter of intent are due October 1, 2019; application due November 1, 2019.
 
*New!* The National Cancer Institute invites R01 (PAR-19-353) and R21 (PAR-19-354) applications to its Neural Regulation of Cancer program encouraging collaborative, transdisciplinary research with both neuroscience and cancer research elements, which together will advance the current understanding of the nervous system's contribution to cancer. Applications due October 21, 2019.
 
*New!* The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke invites U24 (RFA-NS-19-038) applications to support its Human Cell and Data Repository by maintaining the current collection of fibroblast and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines as well as developing, characterizing, expanding source cells and iPSCs, and distributing human cell resources broadly to qualified academic and industry researchers. Applications due October 22, 2019.
 
*New!* The NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) are a set of programs designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. The LRPs counteract that financial pressure by repaying up to $50,000 annually of a researcher's qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research. Applications due November 15, 2019.

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