UAMS Names Time-Sensitive COVID-19 Grant Awardees

By David Robinson

The one-year grants of up to $50,000 each will enable the UAMS researchers and their collaborators to launch research projects that advance understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, contribute to better clinical practices, and improve public health preparedness and responses, said Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor for Research and Innovation.

“The Division of Research and Innovation funded six highly relevant research projects that can provide immediate solutions,” Ho said. “We anticipate these projects will result in high impact, peer-reviewed publications and provide the necessary data for our researchers to secure new federal funding.”

The grant awardees and their projects are:

  • John Arthur, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine; ACE2 to Predict Outcomes in Infection with SARS-CoV-2
  • Craig Forrest, Ph.D., associate professor, College of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Developing Reagents to Enable Antibody-Mediated Anti-Viral Therapies Against COVID-19 (Dream Atac)
  • Joshua Kennedy, M.D., associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine; Identification of Host Immune Pathways and Druggable Protein Targets for Treatment of SARS CoV-2
  • Chenghui Li, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy; Exploratory Analysis of Social Network Messages to Characterize the Community
  • Kevin Raney, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine; Identification of Lead Compounds for Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 Replication
  • Xuming Zhang, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine; An Ex Vivo Human Lung Model for Studying COVID-19 Pathogenesis and Antiviral Drug Discovery

“The competition for this Request for Applications was very keen with a total of 22 proposals received,” Ho said, adding that all researchers interested in fighting COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the awardees to generate additional collaborations and grant submissions for outside funding.

The grant submissions were reviewed by an ad hoc committee appointed by Ho. She said the funds will be released quickly so that research can begin immediately.

The time-sensitive grants are subject to all UAMS research regulatory requirements.