Sanjana Dayal, PhD, assistant professor in Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation, received a $50,000 COVID-19 Pilot Grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. This funding will allow Dayal to examine the mechanisms of hypercoagulation in COVID-19 mouse models.
Hypercoagulation, also known as excessive blood clotting, tends to occur in COVID-19 patients and often results in death. However, the reason behind these COVID-19-related blood clot formations is not fully known. Dayal hopes to uncover the cause by primarily investigating the role of protein IL6 and its downstream effects on blood cells.
Microbiology and Immunology professors Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD, and Paul McCray, MD, developed a new mouse model that mimics the human COVID-19 infection. Among other demonstrations of COVID-19 infection, this model exhibits small clots in the lungs, similar to those that develop in humans.
“Using this novel model, we will study whether and how IL6 protein, which is found increased in human and mouse COVID-19 models, enhances blood clot formation during SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Dayal said.
Following this pilot project, Dayal’s lab will also examine whether presence of other blood-clotting risk factors such as aging, diabetes and high blood pressure enhance the potential to develop clot formation in COVID-19 patients.
The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust provided a $1M gift to the Carver College of Medicine to fuel COVID-19-related research. By funding pilot projects, CCOM hopes to develop a foundation for future COVID-19 studies. The program funds both individual research lab projects (award total up to $50,000) and collaborative research team projects (award total up to $75,000). Clinical trials are not eligible for funding. A second round of applications will be accepted this spring 2021.