The Five Senses: Input & Response

This funding opportunity was open to investigations on any aspect of human sensory systems or systems enabling sensory perception in human health or disease. Although traditional sensory systems (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) gather, organize, and integrate external stimuli, proposals for internal sensory systems (vestibular, spatial orientation, pain, and others) were also welcome.

Proposals could address but were not limited to sense functionality, injury, disease states, treatment, mitigation, social and societal impacts, or public policy. Examples include human health-related issues such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • Physiology or mechanistic aspects of sensory reception or perception;
  • Innate or acquired impairments of any sensory reception or perception system:
    • age-related changes
    • inborn or acquired physical impediments
    • illness or treatment-related effects
  • New therapeutics, e.g., drugs, mechanical aids, gene & cell based therapies, etc.;
  • Impacts on individuals/families/society, e.g., social isolation, depression, ostracization, mental health issues, etc.;
  • Legal/public policy aspects, e.g., ADA, accessibility of public buildings, etc.

As deficits in sensory reception or perception may affect several systems simultaneously, e.g., vision and hearing, proposals describing the formation of interdisciplinary teams to address multi-sensory integration projects were also welcome.

This RFA was intended to offer applicants opportunities to conduct important translational research across a wide range of topics.

Proposals addressing healthcare disparities and/or health equity or that focused on or actively recruit underserved, understudied, or special populations, and impacts across the lifespan were encouraged.

This was an open call for proposals.  Any investigator with an innovative idea related to the purpose of this RFA was welcome to apply.

Areas of inquiry had to focus on translational research and human health. Proposals requiring the use of nonhuman samples/models were only considered if there was a clear and direct link to subsequent investigations of human health. Proposals investigating basic research questions or those solely limited to pre-clinical applications were not considered.

Funding level

  • Up to $50,000 per award

Sponsoring Program

Translational Innovator


Lora Bankova | Mediators of Chronic COVID-Related Smell and Taste Distortion
Paulo Bispo | Real-Time Unbiased Pathogen Detection in Infectious Uveitis
Divya Chari | Employing Vestibular Perceptual Threshold Measurements to Differentiate Meniere’s Disease and Vestibular Migraine
Zheng-Yi Chen | Hair Cell Regeneration in Mature Inner Ear in Vivo by Drug-Like Molecules
Clas Linnman | Auditory Mirror Therapy for Tinnitus
Samuel Mathias | Rare Genetic Variation in Early Onset Presbycusis Patients and their Offspring
James Naples | Diagnosing Dizziness with Balance Biomarkers
Katherine Reinshagen | Detection of “Hidden Hearing Loss” with Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Lucy Shen | Genetic, Systemic and Ophthalmic Basis of Vascular Pathology in Primary Open Angle Glaucoma
Lana Vasung | Characterizing In-Utero Fetal Brain Development in Non-Syndromic Isolated Structural Birth Defects Associated with Impaired or Altered Proprioception