Disease-Focused Research Grants Program

Awardees Announced for the 2015 Competition

On July 7th the program review committee met and selected the following six winners:

Dragana Rogulja (HMS) — Control of sleep initiation by the visual system

Ulf Dettmer (BWH) — α-Synuclein Tetramers and Their Relevance for Modeling and Treating PD

Krishna Srihasam (HMS) — Non Invasive Neuromodulation for presurgical planning in Parkinson's disease

Todd Anthony (BCH) — Imaging of Neural Activity Dynamics in a Genetically-Defined Circuit that Controls Stress-Induced Anxiety

Kevin Hodgetts (BWH) — A Translation Library to Elucidate Disease Mechanisms, Identify Drug Targets and Accelerate Drug Discovery for CNS Disease

Ricardo Mouro Pinto (MGH) — Identification of genetic modifiers of somatic CAG instability in Huntington's Disease by in vivo CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing

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This program provides funds to explore and develop early-stage, innovative ideas for new translational projects aimed at understanding neurological diseases and to strengthen our community’s engagement in these critically important projects.  These are more “high risk” projects that are unlikely to be funded by federally funded agencies. 


  • Annual RFA to submit proposals for novel projects with no other funding available
  • Emphasis on highly innovative, possible risky projects unlikely to receive NIH funding
  • Criteria for strong submission:
    1. Scientific merit
    2. Novelty
    3. If proposed aims are achieved it will likely yield a successful grant application
    4. Applicant’s ability to access appropriate facilities and has the technical ability to carry out the project
    5. The project will use one or more of the HNDC core facilities and take advantage of available community resources
  • Submissions reviewed by senior members of the steering committee
  • Up to six successful applicants/year will each receive $60,000/year for two years


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Five Winners Announced

2013 Competition
Sixty-four proposals were received. On October 17th the review committee met and selected the following five winners.

Min Liu (BWH) - Understanding the Mechanisms that Regulate LRRK2 Activities and Function

Tim Bartels (BWH) - Structural Factors Underlying the Susceptibility of a-Synuclein to Prion-Like Aggregation

Jong-Min Lee (MGH) - Personalized Genome Medicine for HD

Nikolaos Patsopoulos (BWH) - An Integrated Approach to Prioritize Genetic Loci for Drug Discovery in MS

Nazem Atassi (MGH) - Molecular Imaging of Inflammation in ALS