FSR is pleased to announce the 2021 Small Research Grant Awardees. As part of our mission, FSR accelerates sarcoidosis research through fellowships, small grants, and large grant programs, and has dedicated over $5M million for worldwide sarcoidosis research since inception.

 

The FSR Small Research Grant aims to support smaller scale or pilot research projects, awarding a limited number of one-time $25,000 grants. The goal of the FSR Small Research Grant is to provide early career and established sarcoidosis researchers the financial support to gather pilot data and pursue innovative research projects that might otherwise not be funded. Since the launch of the grant in 2018, FSR has invested over $250,000 in the FSR Small Research Grant.

In 2021, FSR received 11 applications for small grant funding, the highest number of small grant applications to date. This year, FSR’s Scientific Advisory Board and Board of Directors dedicated $50,000 towards the 2021 FSR Small Research Grant. FSR is pleased to announce two grant awardees, Maneesh Bhargava, MD, PhD from the University of Minnesota and Peter H. S. Sporn, MD from Northwestern University.

Maneesh Bhargava MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, was awarded $25,000 for his proposal, “Comprehensive Assessment of Signal Transduction Pathways in Sarcoidosis”. This research will address inflammation in sarcoidosis, commonly treated with steroids like prednisone, which can have severe side effects that may worsen the quality of life of patients. This study will provide the foundational work for a new group of medications called kinase inhibitors as a potential sarcoidosis treatment. Inflammatory cells will be collected from the lungs and blood, and computational analysis using state-of-the-art technology will identify the kinase enzymes that promote sarcoidosis inflammation and potential kinase inhibitors that could be used to reduce inflammation. These kinase inhibitors could be novel treatment options that are better tolerated than current therapy.

 

Peter H. S. Sporn, MD, Director, Northwestern Sarcoidosis Center of Excellence, Professor of Medicine, Cell and Developmental Biology, and Medical Education, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was awarded $25,000 for his project “Assessment of the Immune Response to SARS-COV2 Vaccination in Sarcoidosis”. Dr. Sporn and colleagues at Northwestern Medicine are conducting a study to measure immune responses to COVID vaccination in people with sarcoidosis. Individuals with sarcoidosis being treated with immunosuppressive medications and others with sarcoidosis who are not on treatment will be studied, and vaccine responses in both groups will be compared to responses in healthy individuals. Two key components of the immune response to COVID vaccination will be measured: 1) the level of coronavirus antibodies and 2) the degree to which immune cells known as T lymphocytes are activated by the coronavirus. The study will provide critical new information about the effectiveness of COVID vaccination in people with sarcoidosis, and will likely contribute to new guidelines regarding COVID booster vaccinations for people with sarcoidosis in the future.

 

“It’s exciting to see the development of sarcoidosis research through these Small Grants,” says Mary McGowan, CEO of Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research. “We look forward to the next steps from these research projects and the potential to improve outcomes in patients with sarcoidosis.”

 

For more information about FSR’s Small Grants, please visit https://www.stopsarcoidosis.org/small-grants/.