COVID-19 Research Grant Recipients

August 7, 2020

NIH Grant to Study Disparities in COVID-19 Outcomes

Weill Cornell Medicine’s Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health for COVID-19 research. The two-year $1.5 million grant will fund projects led by Dr. Julianne Imperato-McGinley, director of the CTSC, and associate directors Dr. Olivier Elemento and Dr. Said Ibrahim, to investigate the role of social and biological factors in determining COVID-19 severity and outcomes in New York City patients.

Black and Latino populations have suffered a significantly higher proportion of infection and death from COVID-19 in New York City, and across the country. Social determinants of health, including lack of access to adequate medical care, crowded housing and exposure from one’s occupation, can influence the likelihood of acquiring COVID-19. Co-morbidities such as obesity, diabetes and lung and heart disease that put people at risk for severe illness, are also more common in Black and Latino populations.

To assess how socioeconomic factors have contributed to the racial and ethnic disparities, the investigators will compare rates of hospitalization, intensive care unit admissions and deaths from COVID-19 in affluent versus lower income communities within New York City. They will also use data from patients across the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital system to study patterns in demographics, laboratory results and biospecimens to determine if there’s a link between genetic variability, race and ethnicity, and severity of COVID-19.

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WCM's COVID-19 Research Grant Recipients

Thanks to the remarkable generosity of our Board of Overseers and many other donors, WCM is able to provide one-year grants of $100,000 to support innovative research on COVID-19. Congratulations to the following faculty members for receiving the first two COVID-19 Research Grants.

Melissa Davis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology Research in Surgery (Interim)
  • "COVID disparities – DARC side of SARS-Cov-2"
Yawei (Jenny) Yang, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • "Virologic and Immunologic Factors that affect COVID-19 Prevalence and Infection in Pregnant Women and their Neonates"
Julie Magarian Blander, Ph.D.
Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Immunology in Medicine
  • "A T cell Biomarker for Protective COVID-19 Immunity"
Heidi Stuhlmann, Ph.D.
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Harvey Klein Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in Pediatrics
  • “The Placenta as a Potential Site of SARS-CoV-2 infection and Transmission” 
Pengbo Zhou, Ph.D.
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • "Small molecule G3BP1NTF2 inhibitor rewires G3BP1 to augment its anti-viral activity against SARS-CoV-2"
Alexander Merkler, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience
  • "Incidence and Risk Factors of Stroke in Patients Hospitalized with Covid-19 Infection: Derivation and Validation of a Risk Stratification Model"
Robert Peck, M.D., MS
Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
  • "Chronic Kidney Complications of COVID–19 in a Cohort of HIV-infected on HIV-uninfected African Adults"
Erica Phillips, M.D., MS
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
  • "The Contributions of Socio-Behavioral Factors to disparities in the COVID 19 pandemic"

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