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Seven Penn Vet Researchers Receive COVID-19 Pilot Awards

By: Martin Hackett Date: Jun 23, 2020
Graphic representation of COVID-19
Accelerating basic science response to the global pandemic

[June 23, 2020 - Philadelphia, PA] Seven researchers from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Vet) have been selected to receive distinctive COVID-19 Pilot Awards from the Penn Vet COVID Research Innovation Fund. The Fund, provided with critical start-up support through a generous gift from Vernon and Shirley Hill, will bolster Penn Vet’s rapidly expanding research and response program to fight the novel coronavirus. 

Studies funded demonstrate Penn Vet’s unique and collective expertise in pathogen-related research, infectious disease, and translational medicine to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Penn Vet’s COVID-19 Pilot Awards are supporting our research laboratories in making significant strides toward solving this public health emergency,” said Phillip Scott, PhD, Vice Dean for Research and Academic Resources. “These awardee investigators will categorically advance our understanding of the basic science of the SARS-CoV-2 respiratory virus. Their findings will not only enhance the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, but lead us to an understanding of other novel respiratory viruses.”

The 2020 Penn Vet COVID-19 Pilot Award recipients are:

Montserrat C Anguera, PhD, Associate Professor, and Andrew E. Vaughan, PhD, Assistant Professor, both Department of Biomedical Sciences, “Investigation of the Genetic and Hormonal Contributions for Male-biased COVID-19 Disease.”

Ronald N. Harty, PhD, Professor of Pathobiology and Microbiology, Department of Pathobiology, “SARS-CoV-2 Virus-Host Interactions and Therapeutic Intervention.”

De’Broski R. Herbert, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pathobiology, “Cross-species SARS-CoV-2 Transmission.”

Christopher A. Hunter, PhD, Mindy Halikman Heyer Distinguished Professor of Pathobiology, Department of Pathobiology, “The Role of IL-27 in Limiting the Development of Cytokine Storms.”

Elizabeth M. Lennon, DVM, PhD, Pamela Cole Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences and Advanced Medicine, “SARS-CoV-2: Role of Housecats as a Reservoir for Human Infection.”

Michael J. May, MSc, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, “Targeting Lymphatic Endothelial IKKa: A Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Treatment of COVID-19.”

Ellen Puré, PhD, Grace Lansing Lambert Professor of Biomedical Science; Chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences, “Defining the Cellular and Molecular Basis of the Fibro-inflammatory Response to SARS-CoV2 Infection.”

In addition to the Pilot Awards, Penn Vet’s COVID-19 Research Innovation Fund is also supporting the Working Dog Center’s COVID-19 canine scent detection study. Announced on April 28th, the pilot training program is utilizing scent detection dogs in a laboratory setting to discriminate between saliva and urine samples from COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative patients.