Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation has announced that 17 projects will be funded during 2011. Nine of the projects are scheduled to be launched this year and eight will be in their second year of funding, with a total allocation of $841,023.
The foundation is the leading source of private funding for veterinary research specifically for the horse, and the 2011 funding brings its totals since 1983 to $18.1 million to fund 279 projects at 40 universities.
Among new projects to be launched this year with Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation funding is work addressing piroplasmosis, a blood parasite disease that was widely believed not to exist in North America before an outbreak appeared in the U.S. in 2010. Dr. Robert Mealey of Washington State University is beginning a two-year project aimed at identifying the immune responses necessary to protect horses against piroplasmosis.
Among additional subjects addressed by the new projects are avoidance of supporting-limb laminitis and early detection of laryngeal neuropathy (roaring).
The fifth annual Elastikon Research Award is being presented as part of the foundation’s funding to Dr. Laurie Goodrich of Colorado State University. The award is supported in part by a donation to GJCRF from Johnson & Johnson’s Consumer Products Division, manufacturer of Elastikon tape and other equine products.
Goodrich’s project will address osteoarthritis, a malady common to horses. She will use gene therapy to attempt to produce beneficial protein that will allow cartilage to heal.
In addition to the grants, the foundation is presenting the Storm Cat Career Development Award, created to provide an early boost to an individual considering a career in equine research, to Kyla Ortved, a doctoral student at Cornell University who will work with professor Alan Nixon on gene therapy. This $15,000 award was inaugurated in 2006 and since its inception has been underwritten by Mrs. Lucy Young Hamilton, a GJCRF board member whose family stood the distinguished stallion Storm Cat at its Overbrook Farm. The award was established at the suggestion of Dr. Hiram Polk, a GJCRF board member.
“It is very gratifying that one of our earlier Storm Cat winners, Dr. Martin Vidal, is already making a mark in equine research and is being supported this year as principal investigator of a foundation-funded project at University of California-Davis,” said Edward L. Bowen, president of the foundation.