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The Kavli NSI supports four key initiatives:

1. Small Grants Program for Individual Projects—Investing in Originality

A novel discovery fund providing pilot grants of $25,000 or more, available on a competitive basis for early-stage and highly innovative basic science projects. All funding requests will be reviewed by the Kavli NSI Steering Committee.

2017-2018 Small Grants Program – Pilot Grant Application Information and Materials

Download Program Announcement
Deadline for letters of intent: July 14, 2017
Download LOI Form
Candidates selected for phase two review announced on: July 31, 2017
Download Application Form
Deadline for two-page applications: August 21, 2017
Finalists announced on: September 22, 2017
Funding cycle: October 1, 2017 – December 31, 2018
One-page Report due date: January 31, 2019

The next call for applications will be in summer 2018 with a September 1, 2018 deadline.

2017–2018 Pilot Grant Recipients ($25,000 each)
  • Perceptual Modulation of Food-related Cues by Top-down Cognitive Processes, Estefania Azevedo (Friedman Lab)
  • Analysis of RNA Expression in Human Brain to Test the Hypothesis that Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Can Trigger Alzheimer’s Disease, Shahar Barbash (Sakmar Lab)
  • DNA-driven Assembly of a Biosynthetic Pathway with Sub-cellular Resolution, Victor Bustos (Greengard Lab)
  • Developing New Experimental Tools for the Study of an Ant’s Sensory Responses in Isolation and in a Social Context, Asaf Gal (Kronauer Lab)
  • Optimizing Transgenic Methods in the Zebra Finch: a Vocal Learning Model, Anna Keyte (Jarvis Lab)
  • How Neuronal Voltage-gated Ion Channels Function at an Atomic Level, Chia-Hsueh Lee (MacKinnon Lab)
  • In vivo Imaging of Brain Metabolic Rates by Hyperpolarized 13C Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Isaac Marin-Valencia (Hatten Lab)
  • Precision Targeting of Enteric Neurons with a Photo-activatable Cre Recombinase, Paul Muller (Mucida Lab)
  • The Role of Prefrontal Cortex in Top-down Memory Processing, James Niemeyer (Rajasethupathy Lab)
  • Radial-glia Dependent Pioneer-neuron Guidance: Using elegans to Uncover Cells and Genes Driving Mouse Spinal-cord Assembly, Georgia Rapti (Shaham Lab)
  • Transcriptional Cell Types from High-Throughput RNA Sequencing of Heterogeneous Tissues, Stephen Serene (Freiwald Lab)
  • Targeted Optical Sensors to Investigate Selective Neuromodulatory Signaling, Andrew Siliciano and Annie Handler (Ruta Lab)
  • Optogenetic Control of Mosquito Host-seeking Behavior, Trevor Sorrells (Vosshall Lab)
  • Mapping Local mRNA Translational Regulation in Post-Synaptic Dendritic Spines using High-Throughput Co-CLIP, Xin Sun (Darnell Lab)
  • Investigating the Neural Correlates of the Yerkes-Dodson Law, Inna Tabansky (Pfaff Lab)
  • Towards Functional Photo-acoustics Imaging of Deep Brain Structures, Alipasha Vaziri (Vaziri Lab)

2. Funds for Collaborative Projects and Technology Development—Investing in Big Ideas

Grants of $100,000 to $300,000, available on a competitive basis to support internal and external collaborative projects that explore “big ideas,” with the goal of elucidating fundamental questions.

Instrument Design and Fabrication Facility
Sponsored by the Kavli NSI
The Instrument Design and Fabrication Facility (IDFF) at Rockefeller University is an engineering facility with cutting-edge equipment and staffed with engineers who enable high-end modern instrument design and fabrication. Although the IDFF was established through core funding and annual operating support from the Kavli NSI, the facility is not limited only to Kavli NSI member laboratories—it will provide end-to-end service from conceptualization to application to all labs on campus. Instruments from Rockefeller’s Precision Fabrication Facility (PFF) have moved into the IDFF space to create one core facility in newly renovated space on the A Level of the Weiss Research Building. A state-of-the-art 5-axis Hermle C22 CNC mill has been added to the collection and will enhance engineering capabilities even further. The facility is scheduled to open in January 2018.

3. Kavli Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellows—Investing in the Future of Neuroscience

Kavli Fellows receive a generous measure of salary/stipend and research support, are invited to serve on the Kavli NSI Steering Committee, and are expected to take leadership roles in the life of the Institute.

2018 Kavli NSI Fellowships – Application Information and Materials
Download Program Announcement
Deadline for applications: February 1, 2018
Download Application Form
Finalists announced: April or May 2018
Appointment term: July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2020

Kavli Fellowship Recipients

Lisa Fenk, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate, Laboratory of Integrative Brain Function
Kavli Postdoctoral Fellow, 2017-2019

Christoph Kirst, Ph.D.
Fellow, Center for Studies in Physics and Biology
Kavli Physics Fellow, 2016-2018

Marc Schneeberger Pane, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate, Laboratory of Molecular Genetics
Kavli Postdoctoral Fellow, 2017-2019

Laura Seeholzer
Graduate Fellow, Laboratory of Neurophysiology and Behavior
Kavli Graduate Fellow, 2016-2018

Julia Sliwa, Ph.D.
Research Associate, Laboratory of Neural Systems
Kavli Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016-2018


4. Seminars, Symposia, Visiting Scientists—Investing in the Kavli Community

Sponsorship of Kavli neuroscience seminars, symposia, workshops, retreats, and other academic and social gatherings. Funds may also be used to support short- and longer-term sabbatical visitors at Rockefeller.

Monthly Kavli NSI Meeting
Hosted by the Kavli Fellows
The Kavli Fellows host monthly meetings for trainees in Kavli NSI member laboratories. The format of the meeting is variable month-by-month and may include chalk talks or short presentations from 2-3 trainees on a given topic in neuroscience, NeuroData meetup, Quantitative Neuroscience Journal Club, Head of Laboratory chalk talks, and/or job talks by postdoctoral fellows. Although the agenda is flexible each month, the meetings will be planned and promoted in advance with the dual goal of promoting neuroscience on campus and increasing communication between labs. Participants will have the opportunity to provide feedback, which will be used by the organizers in structuring subsequent meetings. Please visit the Events page to see a list of upcoming dates.

Sponsorship of Inter-lab Journal Clubs and Meetings
Sponsorship opportunities are also available through the Kavli Fellows Initiative Fund to anyone interested in forming a new inter-lab, neuro-related journal club or group meeting. Clubs/meetings must be jointly organized by members of at least two different Kavli NSI member labs and attendance would be open to members from other Kavli NSI labs. A list of current journal clubs and joint meetings in existence at Rockefeller are posted here. Please contact the Kavli Fellows at to learn more.


Kavli NSI member labs interested in any of the funding opportunities listed above should contact Lindsey Cole, Kavli NSI administrator, at All requests will be reviewed by the Kavli NSI Steering Committee.