The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is allocating a record amount of funding for more than 2 dozen projects.
In total, the foundation has authorized $1,638,434 to fund 12 new projects at 12 universities, 12 continuing projects and two career development awards worth $20,000 each.
“We are heartened by the continued commitment of universities to supporting equine veterinary research throughout these difficult times and that we are able to distribute more funding than ever before, enabling us to help horses of all breeds and disciplines,” says Dell Hancock, chair of Grayson.
The foundation received 51 applications from veterinary institutions around the world.
“The subject matter is diverse and ranges from identifying new methods to treat and prevent infectious disease to development of computational models using big data to investigation of novel imaging techniques to prevent orthopedic injuries,” says Dr. Stephen M. Reed, chair of Grayson’s research advisory committee.
Equine Research Projects
The new projects receiving funding follow.
Passive Immunization of Foals with RNA-AB against R Equi
“By inhalation therapy,” says Dr. Jeroen Pollet of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, “we intend to deliver the genetic code for a protective antibody against Rhodococcus equi into the lung cells of newborn foals, to rapidly protect them against infection.”
Hyperthermia and Acidosis in Exertional Muscle Damage
“This project will identify an underlying cause of exercise-associated muscle fatigue and soreness and allow trainers to more precisely condition horses with fewer training days lost to muscle soreness,” says Dr. Michael Davis of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla.
Developing an Improved Serological Test for Strangles
“We propose to develop a more accurate blood test to identify horses infected with the bacterium that causes strangles to improve control and prevention of strangles,” says Dr. Noah Cohen of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Mitigation of Equine Recurrent Uveitis through SOCS
“We seek to design a topical eye drop, using a natural protein, which helps to prevent pain and blindness associated with equine recurrent uveitis,” says Dr. Joseph Larkin of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
Environmental Origins of Equine Antimicrobial Resistance
“This study will elucidate how antimicrobial resistance and virulence determinants are shared among horses and hospital environment, as well as the role antimicrobial exposure plays at this interface,” says Dr. Brandy Burgess of the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.
Treatment of Joint Injury with Mesenchymal Stromal Cells
“[The study will be an] evaluation of equine umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stromal cells to treat joint injuries in horses,” says Dr. Thomas Koch of the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario.
Optimizing Bone Growth to Reduce Equine Fracture
“Reduction in distal limb fractures through exercise in young horses would have a significant positive impact on horse welfare and the economics and public perception of the horse industry,” says Dr. Mariana Kersh of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Ill.
New Generation Equine Influenza Bivalent VLP Vaccine
“We propose to create a novel, safe and effective vaccine for equine influenza based on the 21st-century technology of noninfectious virus-like particles produced in plants,” says Dr. Thomas Chambers of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
Injury Prediction from Stride Derived Racing Load
“By studying patterns in bone fatigue accrual over time in racehorses, we will better, and earlier, identify horses at risk of limb injury, facilitating timely evidence based preventative strategies.” says Dr. Chris Whitton of the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia.
Predicting Exercising Arrhythmias with Resting ECGs
“We will use at rest ECGs to identify horses with irregular heart rhythms at exercise that can cause sudden cardiac death (SCD), allowing for increased monitoring and improved understanding of SCD,” says Dr. Molly McCue of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn.
Understanding and Preventing Supporting Limb Laminitis
“We aim to make supporting limb laminitis preventable through analysis of archived model tissues, a multi-center limb motion study of horses at risk, and development of a prototype therapeutic device,” says Dr. Andrew van Eps, an International Equine Veterinarian Hall of Fame member at the University of Pennsylvania in Kennett Square, Pa. Van Eps has lectured about his previous research at the International Hoof-Care Summit.
Diagnosis of Incipient Condylar Stress Fracture
“This study will save the lives of racehorses by establishing screening using fetlock CT for diagnosis of horses with a high risk of imminent serious injury for personalized clinical care,” says Dr. Peter Muir of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.
Career Development Awards
Dr. Callum G. Donnelly of the University of California, Davis, is the recipient of The Storm Cat Career Development Award, which grants $20,000 to an individual considering a career in equine research. Donelly has completed his residency program and is in a research training position under the mentorship of Dr. Carrie Fino. His project “Proteomic Investigation of Equine Spinal Ataxia” is expected to identify novel protein biomarkers that differentiate normal horses from those with spinal ataxia, with high sensitivity and specificity.
Dr. Aileen Rowland of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, is the recipient of the Elaine and Bertram Klein Career Development Award, which grants $20,000 to a prospective equine researcher. Rowland’s research focuses on the efficacy of xenogeny-free mesenchymal stem cells for osteoarthritis.
“We are pleased to continue our funding of two career development awards to support individuals passionate about equine research,” says Dr. Johnny Mac Smith, consultant to the research advisory committee. “Dr. Donelly and Dr. Rowland are worthy recipients of these grants, and I look forward to seeing how their current and future projects contribute to improving equine health in the future.”
It is the seventh consecutive year that the foundation has approved more than $1 million. The foundation has provided more than $30.6 million to underwrite 396 projects at 45 universities since 1983.