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Julee joined the Common Fund in the Office of Strategic Coordination as a contractor Executive Assistant to two Program Leaders in June of 2024. Originally from Orange County, California, she made the move to Washington in 2008 to enroll her daughter in a Montessori school, starting a new chapter in their lives. Before settling in D.C., Julee lived in Germany and France as a Flight Attendant for United Airlines, where she explored her passion for travel both through work and personal adventures.

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Brandon Riley joined the Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC)-Division of Other Transactions Management (DOTM) as an Other Transactions Agreements Specialist in July 2023. Prior to joining OSC, Mr. Riley held a grants management positions at USDA-ARS. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in mass communications from Newberry College in South Carolina and his master’s degree in project management from University of Maryland University College.

Why It's Time to Take Electrified Medicine Seriously

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So scientists are working on a better road map, building a detailed picture of the major nerve networks in the body. The project, called SPARC, is funded by the National Institutes of Health and aims to map out every nerve of the human nervous system outside the brain. That could illuminate new ways to manipulate electrical signals to control cells connected to those nerves—including what they make and how active they are. Researchers at universities across the country are assigned different major organ systems, and the resulting nerve map will be available to any scientist interested in finding ways to tap into those neural networks to develop a potential electroceutical treatment.

The rise of bioelectric medicine sparks interest among researchers, patients, and industry

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have also invested significantly in the field through programs such as Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions, or SPARC (14), and Electrical Prescriptions, or ElectRx. One recent study funded by DARPA’s ElectRx, for example, found that sacral nerve stimulation decreased inflammation in the colon (15). Market intelligence firms predict the bioelectronic device market will reach between $16 and $60 billion annually within the next 5 to 10 years (1617). “We’ve already hit $10 billion a year,” says Kip Ludwig, who leads the Bioelectronic Medicines Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “It now looks like we're at the slope in an exponential curve.”

Creating the first 3D map of the heart's 'brain'

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Our hearts are primarily controlled by the brain and autonomic nervous system, but we also have a backup. The heart has its own mini-brain called the intracardiac nervous system (ICN), which fine tunes external autonomic signals and keeps the heart pumping smoothly. Its proper function is essential for good health and disease protection, but the problem is that scientists have a poor understanding of how it works. For the first time, researchers from Thomas Jefferson University have been able to show its structure in stunning 3D detail.

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