Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation Funds Nearly $1.7 Million in Equine Industry Support

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced $1,661,180 to fund 15 new equine projects, 10 continuing projects and three career development awards for equine researchers.

“Grayson aims to support projects that address a wide range of equine health issues, and this diversity can be seen in our approved projects this year,” said Jamie Haydon, president of the foundation. iStock/Purple Queue

The board of directors of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation announced today that it has authorized expenditure of $1,661,180 to fund 15 new projects and 10 continuing projects at 16 universities as well as three career development awards. The 2022 slate of research brings Grayson’s totals since 1983 to more than $32.1 million to underwrite 412 projects at 45 universities.

“Grayson aims to support projects that address a wide range of equine health issues, and this diversity can be seen in our approved projects this year,” said Jamie Haydon, president of the foundation. “We are not able to fund these research projects and career development awards without the generosity of our donors, and we are grateful to them for recognizing the importance of equine veterinary research.”

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

Persistence of Antimicrobial Resistance in Horse Farms Laura Huber, Auburn University
This project will determine the effect of antimicrobial pressure on multi-drug-resistant Rhodococcus equi. persistence in the soil of horse breeding farms in a 5-year period.

Evaluating extracellular vesicles from equine fetally-derived mesenchymal stem cells as an endometritis therapeutic Fiona Hollinshead, Colorado State University
This project will be evaluating extracellular vesicles from equine fetally-derived mesenchymal stem cells as an endometritis therapeutic.

Development of a Palmar Osteochondral Disease Model Chris Kawcak, Colorado State University
The goal of this proposal is to develop an experimental model of palmar osteochondral disease in horses to better study disease progression and facilitate development of improved treatment strategies.

Development of a Vectored Vaccine to Equine Rotavirus A Mariano Carossino, Louisiana State University
A novel viral vectored vaccine against equine rotavirus A (G3 and G14), the leading cause of foal diarrhea, will be designed and evaluated in mares and a neonatal mouse model as proof-of-concept.

Novel Strangles Vaccine Using CD40-Targeted Delivery Luc Berghman, Texas A&M University
This project will be targeting bacterial components of Streptococcus equi spp. equi to the horse’s immune surveillance cells (the APCs) that will result in a fast and strong immune response that will protect against strangles.

Trained Immunity in Foals Angela Bordin, Texas A&M University
This project will study how giving oral live bacteria protects foals against infection by Rhodococcus equi, the cause of severe and debilitating pneumonia in foals, for future development of a vaccine.

Immunogenicity in Foals of an mRNA Vaccine for R. equi Noah Cohen, Texas A&M University
This study proposes to develop an mRNA vaccine delivered by inhalation to protect foals against pneumonia caused by Rhodococcus equi.

Does Antibiotic Treatment Change the Microbial Resistome Paul Morley, Texas A&M University
This research will compare four antibiotic treatments to these protocols that can be selected to treat bacterial infections while also lessening the risks for promoting antibiotic resistance.

Immunomodulation and Exosomes to Enhance Tendon Healing Sushmitha Durgam, The Ohio State University
This study aims to characterize M1 and M2 macrophage-derived inflammatory factors and assess their impact on superficial digital flexor tendon tenocyte activities while examining the potential of extracellular vesicles/exosomes to enhance tendon healing.

Pharmacokinetics of Oral Mycophenolate Mofetil in Horses Gwendolen Lorch, The Ohio State University
This proposal will evaluate the pharmacokinetics of orally administered mycophenolate mofetil as a safe, effective, and inexpensive immunosuppressant drug for management of equine immune-mediated disease.

Equine Placentitis: New Approaches to an Old Problem Pouya Dini, University of California, Davis
The goal of this study is to identify pathogens involved in placentitis and investigate their interaction with the placenta using bioinformatics and in vitro studies to develop better diagnostic and treatment methods.

Motion of the Proximal Sesamoid Bones on Uneven Footing Susan Stover, University of California, Davis
This study proposes to determine how hoof conformation, shoeing, and uneven racetrack surfaces could contribute to fetlock breakdowns.

Influence of Vitamin D and Cortisol in R. equi Infection Kelsey Hart, University of Georgia
This study will investigate how blood levels of cortisol and vitamin D are related to the development and progression of Rhodococcus equi pneumonia in foals after natural exposure.

Fentanyl Matrix Patches in Horses Rachel Reed, University of Georgia
This study aims to show that fentanyl administered via patches placed on the skin is well-absorbed and represents a promising means of providing clinically relevant continuous pain relief to horses.

Sirolimus for the Control of Insulin Dysregulation Andrew Van Eps, University of Pennsylvania
This study will evaluate the drug sirolimus (a potent suppressor of insulin production) for the treatment of insulin dysregulation (the most important cause of laminitis) in horses.

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 has named two recipients. 

The first recipient is Dr. Rosemary Bayless of North Carolina State University. Dr. Bayless has completed her residency program and is in a research training position under the mentorship of Dr. Katie Sheats. Her project is “Cell-Free DNA as a Biomarker in Equine Colic Patients.” 

The second recipient is Dr. Sarah K. Shaffer from the University of California, Davis. Dr. Shaffer’s research project is “Linking Training to Stress-Reactions in Racehorse Bones” and will be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Susan Stover.

The Elaine and Bertram Klein Career Development Award was first awarded in 2015 and grants $20,000 to a prospective equine researcher. This year’s recipient is Dr. Bruno C. Menarim from the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Menarim’s current research focuses on “PPAR-y Activation in the Treatment of Joint Inflammation” and will be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. James MacLeod.

“Grayson’s career development awards have a proven track record of supporting the next generation of top equine researchers, and we are pleased to be able to offer grants to three deserving individuals this year,” said Dr. Johnny Mac Smith, consultant to the research advisory committee.

Details on the new projects are available here.

About Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

The 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 grayson.jockeyclub.org.

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