Propose Research on Mechanisms of Viral Invasion of Central Nervous System

Funding News Edition: May 03, 2023
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Can your research help shed light on a lesser-studied area of research relating to emerging neurotropic viral infections of the central nervous system (CNS), virus- and host immune-mediated neuropathogenesis, and its associated clinical manifestations? If so, apply to the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) Fundamental Research to Understand the Mechanisms of Neurotropic Virus-mediated Disease (R01, Clinical Trial Not Allowed) for funding to conduct basic research into the underlying mechanisms of viral invasion of the CNS.

Such infections can result in acute febrile disease that can progress to more severe neurological manifestations such as encephalitis and meningitis. Climate change and urbanization have led to higher arboviral transmission rates and heightened potential for increased frequency and magnitude of future outbreaks.

Despite the importance of understanding viral neuropathogenesis for emerging and re-emerging neuropathogenesis, key knowledge gaps remain concerning basic mechanisms of neuropathogenesis for neurotropic viruses.

Research Objectives and Scope

This NOFO supports fundamental research into mechanisms that lead to neuropathogenesis after acute viral infection of the CNS. Apply if you can propose projects that focus on less-studied emerging and re-emerging neurotropic viruses for which there are currently no approved vaccines or therapeutics such as non-polio enteroviruses (e.g., V-68, EV-A71), flaviviruses (e.g., WNV, POWV, DTV), alphaviruses (e.g., EEEV, VEEV, CHIKV), bunyaviruses (e.g., RVFV, LACV), and paramyxoviruses (e.g., NiV, HeV).

Examples of studies of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Identifying cellular host factors and mechanisms of cellular tropism of viral infection
  • Identifying route and mechanisms of invasion of the CNS (e.g., blood-brain barrier, blood-CSF barrier)
  • Analyzing the role of direct viral factors and host immune response/host cell signaling in inflammation of the CNS
  • Developing and refining in vitro and in vivo models for viral neuropathogenesis

NIAID will not consider for review any applications that propose the following areas of research:

  • Research of well-studied neurotropic viruses, many of which have approved vaccines or therapeutics
  • Clinical trials
  • Genome-wide association studies (GWAS)
  • Behavioral research
  • Research focused on pathogens of environmental or agricultural importance
  • Translational or product-focused research (e.g., developing prevention methods, treatments, reagents, new diagnostic methods, or animal models not part of a broader application focused on basic science research)
  • Any disease or long-term sequelae that is not part of understanding the molecular or cellular mechanisms underlying viral infection of the CNS or neuropathogenesis

NIAID highly encourages you to contact program officials listed under Scientific/Research Contact(s) in Section VII of the NOFO to discuss your applications prior to submission to ensure research topics can be supported under this NOFO.

Award and Deadline Information

Application budgets are not limited but need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period, though the maximum project period is 5 years.

Applications are due on August 25, 2023, by 5 p.m. local time of the applicant organization.

Direct any inquiries related to this initiative to Dr. Lesley Dupuy, NIAID’s scientific/research contact, at or 240-627-3731. For peer-review related inquiries, contact Dr. Yong Gao, at or 240-669-5048.

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