About SPARC

Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC)

The NIH SPARC Program

The Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program is supported by the NIH Common Fund to provide a scientific and technological foundation for future bioelectronic medicine devices and protocols.

The goal of the SPARC program is to identify neural targets and accelerate the development of therapeutic devices that modulate electrical activity in the vagus and other nerves to help treat diseases and conditions, such as hypertension and gastrointestinal disorders, by precisely adjusting organ function.

Some of the ways the SPARC program is working to advance this goal include:

  • Constructing anatomical and functional datasets from organ-specific neural circuitry, including those that mediate visceral pain.
  • Mapping the human vagus nerve, including circuit-level descriptions of human vagal anatomy and physiology.
  • Creating new tools and technologies, including open-source neuromodulation platforms, to enable precise manipulation and measurement of nerve-organ interactions and their associated functions.
  • Establishing effective research partnerships with clinicians, basic scientists, engineers, and private industry to pursue data-intensive, mechanistic clinical studies.
  • Implementing prize challenges for the research and development community to demonstrate proof-of-principle neuromodulation therapeutic benefits with limited off-target effects.
  • Developing the SPARC Portal to make high value autonomic nervous system data sets, maps, and computational studies freely available to the wider research community.

Funding Opportunities: See current SPARC and related funding opportunities.

The SPARC Portal

The overall vision for the SPARC Portal is to accelerate autonomic neuroscience research and device development by providing access to digital resources that can be shared, cited, visualized, computed, and used for virtual experimentation.

The SPARC Portal is an international project funded by the NIH Common Fund’s SPARC program under OT3OD025349, OT3OD025348, OT3OD025347, and OT2OD030541.

What We Offer

The SPARC Portal offers a growing collection of digital resources that focus on the role of the autonomic nervous system in controlling organ function.

Team & Leadership

The SPARC Portal is developed by a multidisciplinary team, the SPARC Data and Resource Center (DRC).

Get Involved

Learn more about SPARC funding, how you can contribute, and how to get updates on future opportunities.

Community Spotlight

Hear about how the SPARC community are using the SPARC portal, including Success Stories and Fireside Chats. Also, keep up to date with Community Announcements.