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Massey researchers among recipients of VCU grants to rapidly address COVID-19

Eleven VCU Massey Cancer Center research members will receive funding to quickly pivot or expand their work to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health system and the community.

The researchers were among nearly 70 investigators who applied for support through the VCU COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research

The following Massey researchers are grant recipients:

  • Melanie Bean, Ph.D., member of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at Massey and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the VCU School of Medicine, for “Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Household Food Environments and Child Feeding Practices”
  • Gregory Buck, Ph.D., Massey research member and professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the VCU School of Medicine, for “Epidemiology and Evolution of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and the Human Microbiome”
  • Daniel Conway, Ph.D., member of the Cancer Molecular Genetics research program at Massey and associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the VCU College of Engineering, for “Characterizing the Importance of Nuclear-cytoskeletal Transport in SARS-CoV-2 Viral Pathogenicity”
  • Paul Dent, Ph.D., member of Massey’s Cancer Cell Signaling research program and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the VCU School of Medicine, for “Developing Chaperone Inhibitors as Anti-viral Therapeutics”
  • Rebecca Martin, Ph.D., Massey research member, director of Massey’s Flow Cytometry Core Laboratory and assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the VCU School of Medicine, for “Extreme Droplet Digital PCR for Improved SARS-CoV-2 Virus Detection and Absolute Quantification”
  • Michael Peters, Ph.D., member of the Developmental Therapeutics research program at Massey and professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering at the VCU College of Engineering, for “In-Vitro Testing of a Small Helical Peptide Binder (ACE2 Decoy Peptide) to SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein: A Fight Fire with Fire Approach”
  • Jennifer Rohan, Ph.D., Massey Cancer Prevention and Control member and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the VCU School of Medicine, for “Psychological Support During COVID-19: The Impact of Psychological Telehealth Interventions on Psychological Functioning, Quality of Life and Health Behaviors in Pediatric Chronic Illness”
  • Lawrence Schwartz, M.D., Massey Cancer Cell Signaling member and professor and Eminent Scholar in the Department of Internal Medicine at the VCU School of Medicine, for “Human Mast Cell Tryptase Is a Therapeutic Target in COVID-19 Caused by SARS-CoV-2”
  • Maria Thomson, Ph.D., Massey Cancer Prevention and Control member and assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at the VCU School of Medicine, for “Assessing Psychological Well-being and Access to Care in Rural Communities During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Those With and Without Cancer”
  • Hua Zhao, Ph.D., Massey Cancer Prevention and Control member and professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health at the VCU School of Medicine, for “Identification of Social-Contextual and Built-Environment Factors Associated with the Disparities of COVID-19 Pandemic”
  • Guizhi Zhu, Ph.D., member of the Developmental Therapeutics research program and assistant professor at the VCU School of Pharmacy, for “Self-applicable Microneedle Patches of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine for Mass Vaccination”

Through this initiative, VCU has now awarded nearly $350,000 in funding to 31 outstanding and timely proposals across a broad range of disciplines. In addition to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and the Wright Center, this effort was also supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and VCU’s Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation.

“While we were able to fund nearly half of the submitted projects, all the proposals submitted clearly demonstrated VCU’s wealth of inventiveness, breadth of faculty expertise and desire to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation. 

Repurposed from an article written by A.J. Hostetler in the VCU Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation

 

Written by: Massey Communications Office

Posted on: May 22, 2020

Category: Center news & funding

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