Mariia Kumskova, MD, a postdoctoral research scholar in the lab of Anil Chauhan, MTech, PhD, received a one-year, $60,000 Innovative Investigator Research Award from the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF). Kumskova’s project, “Platelet function in Ehlers-Danlos patients with bleeding phenotype,” project will look at the ways in which platelet dysfunction might contribute to bleeding in people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).
EDS is an inherited disorder that affects connective tissues such as the skin, joints, and blood vessel walls. People with EDS have overly flexible joints and fragile skin. There is a lack of research on EDS and the underlying mechanisms, but with this NHF funding, Kumskova aims to address this gap and provide novel avenues to diagnose hemorrhage in people with EDS. Her preliminary work has led Kumskova to believe that platelet dysfunction is correlated with EDS.
“Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a multifactorial diagnosis and there are still a lot more questions than answers,” Kumskova said. “Dr. Chauhan’s guidance and support are invaluable throughout the course of this study. We plan to answer the question of platelet function in EDS and, with that, be one more step closer in understanding the interlaces of pathways in EDS.”
Before coming to the University of Iowa in January 2020, Kumskova worked as a hematologist at the National Research Center for Hematology, in Moscow, Russia. As a second-year post doctorate, Kumskova had originally applied for the NHF’s Judith Graham Pool Postdoctoral Research Fellowship; however, the foundation decided her clinical experience was too extensive to qualify for the fellowship. Chauhan advocated on Kumskova’s behalf, emphasizing the importance of supporting physicians in research.
“In the end, they decided to give her a chance by asking her to apply for the NHF Innovation Award,” Chauhan said. “Sometimes things do work if one believes it. Here is one of the good examples.”
Kumskova is the sixth researcher to receive the Innovative Investigator Research Award since its initiation in 2017.