UT Health Northeast researcher Dr. Vijay Rao, Ph.D., has received a $100,000 one-year grant from the American Society of Hematology to continue his study of blood clotting.
While blood clotting is essential to stop bleeding from injury, when clots form inside blood vessels they can cause heart attack, stroke, and deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that occurs most often in veins in the leg.
Rao, a professor of biochemistry, and his team are investigating a protein called tissue factor that triggers the clotting process. Most tissue factor in cells remains idle until galvanized into action by an injury or disease condition, Rao said.
The goal of Rao's research team is to understand how tissue factor is activated and deactivated, so that blood clots that lead to heart attacks, strokes and other serious diseases can be prevented.
Rao's research on blood clotting has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for the past 25 years, including 12 years of continuous support for a single grant. However, because of recent cuts to the NIH budget, funding for this grant was not renewed earlier this year. Other research conducted by Rao currently is underwritten by a $1.4 million NIH grant.
The hematology society's Bridge Grants are designed to support research by scientists such as Rao, whose grants received NIH scores that, while high, were below the funding cutoff.
Rao is one of just 14 scientists in the nation awarded a one-year bridge grant in the second and final round of American Society of Hematology funding for 2013, the first year these grants have been given out. In 2012, the society committed $9 million to fund about 30 grants annually from 2013 through 2015.
The American Society of Hematology is the world's largest organization dedicated to the cause and treatment of blood disorders. For more than 50 years, it has promoted research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology, the study of blood, the blood-forming organs, and blood diseases.