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REST: The Difference between Destruction and Protection of the Brain 

Karl Deisseroth

The maintenance of cognitive ability during the aging process has become a significant medical challenge of our time. Alzheimer’s disease (AD), currently having no treatment, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. A host of other neurodegenerative diseases cause a decline in mental ability that is capable of interfering with daily life. The reasons for the onset of these diseases are still being examined. Earlier studies suggest that neuronal loss was a normal consequence of brain aging; however, neuronal cells are preserved in the aging brain and decline only in the presence of neurodegenerative disease. Much of the research into the causes of diseases resulting in dementia has focused on the abnormal proteins that appear in the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases; however some people with these abnormal protein clumps show little or no signs of cognitive decline. Why is it that some individuals, even those presenting dementia pathology, age with their cognitive function intact while others develop dementia? Read more here.


Award Announcement
NEW! 2013 High Risk-High Reward Research Awards Announced!  

The NIH has announced 78 awards to support exceptional innovation in biomedical research. In 2013, the NIH is awarding 12 Pioneer Awards, 41 New Innovator Awards, 10 Transformative Research Awards, and 15 Early Independence Awards. The total funding, which represents contributions from the NIH Common Fund and multiple NIH institutes and centers, is approximately $123 million. Read the press release here.


Jeff GoreMarkus W. Covert
HRHR researchers named as 2013 Allen Distinguished Investigators

Two NIH High Risk – High Reward Investigators, Jeff Gore, a 2012 New Innovator from MIT, and Markus Covert, a 2009 Pioneer from Stanford University, were selected as 2013 Allen Distinguished Investigators.

Read more here

Karl DeisserothEdward S. Boyden
Two HRHR researchers awarded world’s largest brain research prize

Americans, Karl Deisseroth, a 2005 Pioneer Awardee, and 2012 Transformative Research Awardee, and Edward S. Boyden, a 2007 New Innovator, and 2012 Transformative Research Awardee and four European scientists were awarded the 2013 prize for their contributions to the development of “optogenetics.” 

Read more here

Archived Program Highlights..

Pioneer Award

Program Description

The NIH Director’s Pioneer Award program complements NIH’s traditional, investigator-initiated grant programs by supporting individual scientists of exceptional creativity, who propose pioneering – and possibly transforming approaches – to major challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. The term “pioneering” is used to describe highly innovative approaches that have the potential to produce an unusually high impact on a broad area of biomedical or behavioral research, and the term “award” is used to mean a grant for conducting research, rather than a reward for past achievements. To be considered pioneering, the proposed research must reflect ideas substantially different from those already being pursued in the investigator’s laboratory or elsewhere. Biomedical and behavioral research is defined broadly in this announcement as encompassing scientific investigations in the biological, behavioral, clinical, social, physical, chemical, computational, engineering, and mathematical sciences.

Awardees are required to commit the major portion (at least 51%) of their research effort to activities supported by the Pioneer Award. Investigators at all career levels are eligible, and those at early to middle stages of their careers and women and members of groups underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research are especially encouraged to apply.


For more information about the Pioneer Award program, see the Frequently Asked Questions, or e-mail your questions to PioneerAwards@mail.nih.gov.

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