Morris Animal Foundation Funds 10 Equine-Focused Projects

The projects are dedicated to enhancing the well-being of domesticated equines.
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Morris Animal Foundation announced its selection of 10 new grants dedicated to enhancing the well-being of domesticated horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules. 

“We are excited to fund these research proposals that will advance equid health,” said Dr. Kathy Tietje, Chief Program Officer at Morris Animal Foundation. “Through these grants, we aim to elevate the quality of life, ensuring a brighter, healthier future for horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.” 

The grant awardees are: 

  • Claire Ricci-BonotUniversity of LincoIn, United Kingdom; “An Exploration of the Nature of Separation-Related Problems in the Horse.” Researchers will use survey tools to learn more about separation anxiety in horses, including its different forms and situational triggers.
  • Angela GaesserUniversity of Pennsylvania; “What Role Does Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Pathway Play in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Equine Osteoarthritis.” Researchers will study if a signaling pathway contributes to the progression of osteoarthritis and if a novel treatment targeting this pathway can help affected horses.
  • Edward J. KnowlesRoyal Veterinary College, United Kingdom; “Insights into the Pathogenesis of Equine Metabolic Syndrome: Plasma Amino Acid and Acylcarnitine Profiles in Ponies with Insulin Dysregulation.” Researchers will learn more about insulin resistance and laminitis in horses and develop cost-effective tools to monitor these patients better. 
  • Serena CeriottiAuburn University; “Effect of Omeprazole Treatment on the Pharmacokinetics of Orally Administered Flunixin Meglumine in Adult Horses: A Pilot Study.” Researchers will study the anti-ulcer drug omeprazole, often prescribed with the NSAID flunixin meglumine and its impact on the latter drug’s ability to reduce pain in horses effectively.
  • Izabela de Assis RochaUniversity of Kentucky; “Investigation of the Immunopathogenesis of Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis.” Researchers will study why a small percentage of horses infected with the causative parasite Sarcocystis neurona are afflicted with a severe neurological disease called equine protozoal myeloencephalitis while other infected horses are unaffected.
  • Sriveny DangoudoubiyamPurdue University; “Determining the Role of Dense Granule Protein, SnGRA9, in Sarcocystis neurona Infection.” Researchers will study how a protein helps the parasite Sarcocystis neurona grow and reproduce in infected horses.
  • Breanna SheahanNorth Carolina State University; “Identifying CFTR Inhibition as a Treatment for Equine Diarrhea Using an In Vitro Patient-Derived Organoid Platform.” Researchers will use an organoid platform, a 3D cell culture, to study a potential new treatment for severe diarrhea in horses.
  • Kristen ConnUniversity of Saskatchewan, Canada; “Understanding the Chromatin Regulation of Lytic Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV1) Gene Expression.” Researchers will work to understand better how EHV1 causes disease and use this information to inform the development of improved treatments.
  • Carrie J. FinnoUniversity of California, Davis; “Unraveling the Genetic Etiology of Equine Neuroaxonal Dystrophy in Quarter Horses and Warmbloods.” Researchers will search for causative genes associated with a common neurological disease in horses called equine neuroaxonal dystrophy/degenerative myeloencephalopathy or eNAD/EDM.
  • Thilo PfauUniversity of Calgary, Canada; “A Team-Based Approach to Monitoring Gait Symmetry: Hoof Care Providers, Horse Owners and Veterinarians Working Toward Prevention of Lameness.” Researchers will partner with hoof care providers, veterinarians and owners to evaluate the feasibility of using video technology to monitor horse gait changes.

About Morris Animal Foundation

Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Denver, it is one of the largest nonprofit animal health research organizations in the world, funding nearly $160 million in more than 3,000 critical animal health studies to date across a broad range of species. Learn more at

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