Nayak receives AHA career development award

Manasa Nayak, PhD, research assistant professor in Hematology, Oncology, and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, received a three-year, $231,000 American Heart Association (AHA) Career Development Award. Nayak previously earned an AHA postdoctoral fellowship in 2018. With this new AHA funding, Nayak will explore potential new treatments for deep vein thrombosis, under the mentorship of Anil K. Chauhan, MTech, PhD, professor in Hematology, Oncology, and Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Despite their effectiveness, the current strategies for the treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) increase the bleeding risk, which limits their use. Consequently, the identification of new therapeutic targets that prevents thrombosis without affecting hemostasis is indispensable. Activated platelets release a range of pro-thrombotic chemokines promoting the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which promotes arterial and venous thrombosis. In a recent Blood publication, Nayak and his colleagues reported the role of glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) in regulating platelet function and arterial thrombosis without affecting bleeding time in mice. Nayak will use the funding from the AHA Career Development Award to investigate the role of platelet-specific PKM2 in modulating DVT.

“I would like to thank my primary mentor, Dr. Anil Chauhan, for his continuous support and encouragement, enabling me to take the necessary steps to make a transition to be an independent researcher,” Nayak said. “My mentor advises us that we celebrate success but to not stop here. There still is a long journey to travel, go the extra mile to get the R01, and become an independent investigator.”

Nayak also credits the support from his secondary mentors, Steven Lentz, MD, PhD, professor in Hematology, Oncology, and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, former chair of the department.

“I am very thankful to Gagan Flora and all other members in the Chauhan Lab for their support,” Nayak said. “I would also like to thank my wife, Jayashree, for her constant encouragement, my aunt for enabling me to reach the new heights, my parents, and all my family members for their support.”

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