American Heart Association Awards $1.2M in COVID-Related Heart, Brain Research Grants

Less than a month after issuing a rapid-response call for scientific research proposals for fast-tracked studies about the effects of COVID-19 on the body’s cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems, the American Heart Association (AHA; awarded $1.2 million in grants to teams at 12 institutions across the U.S.—including the University of Nebraska Medical Center—to begin this unprecedented work.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center team will be led by Rebekah L. Gundry, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of Cellular and Integrative Physiology, with a research focus on “Harnessing Glycomics to Understand Myocardial Injury in COVID-19.” This group will explore specific pathways and biomarkers to identify those most at risk for COVID-19 infection, as well as cardiovascular complications from the virus. Ultimately, the Nebraska team will look to develop the means for personalized medicine and future genomic testing and treatment.

AHA awarded the additional 11 research grants to teams at: Cleveland Clinic; Columbia University Irving Medical Center; Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Kaiser Permanente Southern California; Massachusetts General Hospital; Mayo Clinic; Stanford University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Francisco; University of Colorado; and University of Massachusetts.

Research will get underway as early as June 1, with findings expected in less than six to nine months for most of the studies. Several researchers aim to have actionable outcomes before a new anticipated wave of COVID-19 strikes in the winter.

Funding research such as these projects is a cornerstone of the American Heart Association’s life-saving mission. AHA has funded more than $4.6 billion in cardiovascular research since 1949, making it the single largest non-government supporter of heart and brain health research in the U.S. To learn more, visit or call 1-(800) AHA-USA1.