Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation Approves Funding for 2023

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The board of directors of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced that it has authorized expenditure of $1,498,077 to fund 12 new projects and nine continuing projects at 13 universities as well as two career development awards. The 2023 slate of research brings Grayson’s totals since 1983 to more than $34.1 million to underwrite 426 projects at 45 universities.

“The Grayson Foundation is dedicated to tackling a variety of equine health challenges, which is clearly reflected in our selected projects for this year,” said Jamie Haydon, president of Grayson. “Our research projects and career development awards wouldn’t be possible without the kindness of our donors. We thank them for their understanding of the significance of equine veterinary research.”

Below is an alphabetical list by school of the new projects:

Transcriptomic Response To Osteoarthritis

Lynn Pezzanite, Colorado State University

This study will highlight the role that cells of the immune system play in contributing to disease progression of osteoarthritis. It aims to further the goal of developing treatments for each stage of disease.

Efficacy of Recombinant Equine Lubricin for Osteoarthritis

Heidi Reesink, Cornell University

This study will assess efficacy of recombinant equine lubricin (rEqLub) in mitigating equine joint disease. It will identify gene and protein pathways affected by rEqLub in equine joints.

Treatment Of Meniscal Injury With Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Aimee Colbath, Cornell University

This study will determine whether intra-articular mesenchymal stem cells lead to improved meniscal healing. it will provide an immediate impact on how veterinarians treat equine meniscal disease. 

Stem Cell Neotissue Implants for Equine Tendon Healing

Mandi J. Lopez, Louisiana State University

This study will determine if viable neotissue implants generated from stem cells will augment current therapies to treat debilitating tendon injuries in equine athletes and companions. 

Gallium Nitrate to Treat Bacterial Endometritis in Mares

Dale Kelley, Oklahoma State University 

This study proposes to develop new, safe, and efficacious antimicrobial strategies to treat antimicrobial resistance.

A VapA mRNA Vaccine for R. equi Pneumonia

Noah Cohen, Texas A&M AgriLife Research

This grant evaluates an mRNA vaccine administered intramuscularly to foals to protect against pneumonia caused by the bacterium Rhodococcus equi, a major cause of disease and death in foals worldwide.

Genomics of Thoroughbred Stallion Subfertility

Terje Raudsepp, Texas A&M University

This project aims to identify candidate genes and regulatory variants underlying impaired acrosome reaction and subfertility in Thoroughbred stallions using multi-platform genomics. 

Validation of Biomarkers for Equine Neurodegeneration

Carrie J. Finno, University of California Davis

It is expected that this study will improve the diagnosis of spinal cord disease in horses.  

PET MRI Sport Horse Fetlock

Mathieu Spriet, University of California Davis

This study will compare 18F-NaF positron emission tomography (PET) with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for assessment of fetlock injuries in sport horses. 

Antibiotic Effects On Uterine Microbiome and Resistome

Igor Canisso, University of Illinois

This is a study of uterine microbiome and resistome of mares resistant and susceptible to endometritis treated with post-mating antibiotics.

Nanoparticle Vaccines For Equine Rotavirus B 

Feng Li, University of Kentucky

The vaccine candidate developed from this project will help the equine industry to control and prevent equine rotavirus B infection.

An Efficacious EPM Vaccine is On the Way

Sharon Witonsky, Virginia-Maryland CVM

This study plans to identify potential MHC class I CD8 and MHC class II CD4 protective epitopes for an efficacious vaccine against Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis due to Sarcocystis neurona.

Career Development Awards

The Storm Cat Career Development Award, inaugurated in 2006, grants $20,000 to an individual considering a career in equine research. This year, Grayson awarded Dr. Shun “Shune” Kimura of University of Georgia. Dr. Kimura’s research will investigate how immune and metabolic responses in systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) impact disease severity, and determine if metformin has beneficial anti-inflammatory and metabolic effects in equine SIRS.

The Elaine and Bertram Klein Career Development Award was first awarded in 2015. It grants $20,000 to a prospective equine researcher. This year’s recipient is Dr. Bethanie Cooper of North Carolina State University. Dr. Cooper’s research, entitled, “Myristoylated Alanine Rich C-Kinase Substrate (MARCKS) protein as a therapeutic target in equine asthma,” will examine this new protein-based therapy as a potential treatment for horses suffering from equine asthma. 

“The track record of Grayson’s career development awards in supporting up-and-coming equine researchers is undeniable, and we are thrilled to extend grants to two deserving recipients this year,” said Dr. Johnny Mac Smith, who serves as a consultant for the research advisory committee and is the A. Gary Lavin Chair of the foundation.

Details on the new projects are available at the following link:

About Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is traditionally the nation’s leading source of equine research funding. The projects it supports enhance the health and safety of horses of all breeds. Additional information about the foundation is available at

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