VPRF/AVMF names pharmacology research grant recipients


The funding will support research projects developed to enhance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of animal diseases.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) and the Veterinary Pharmacology Research Foundation (VPRF) have chosen 2 veterinary researchers as recipients of the organizations’ 2021-2022 pharmacology research grants.

According to an organizational release, the grant recipients include Megan Grobman, DVM, MS, DACVIM (SAIM), PhD; and Sarah A. Hamer, MS, PhD, DVM, DACVPM (epi). Grobman is an assistant professor of small animal internal medicine at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, while Hamer is an associate professor of epidemiology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS).

Grobman’s research project will focus on the affect of single-dose administration of the antidepressant—trazadone—on the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, in healthy canines.

“The use of trazodone to improve animal welfare and stress management within the veterinary hospital is becoming increasingly common. However, few studies have been published about trazodone use in dogs. Due to trazodone’s mechanism of action, potential interference with the production of cortisol, use of the drug may interfere with the evaluation of endocrine (hormonal) disease in dogs,” said Grobman, in the release.

“Thanks to the generous grant provided by the AVMF/VPRF, we are able to launch the first study investigating possible interference with the diagnosis and treatment of canine endocrine disease due to trazodone administration in dogs,” she continued.

Meanwhile, Hamer’s research project will aim to enhance clinical outcomes in client-owned, naturally-infected dogs with Chagas disease, a potentially life-threatening disease of people, dogs, and other animals. Her work focuses on examining the treatment efficacy of the drug—benznidazole—for curing infection with Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, according to the release.

“After years of epidemiological work to describe the magnitude of the canine Chagas disease problem, we are so excited and thankful to have support from AVMF/VPRF to work toward a solution,” commented Hamer.

“Diseases in nature—especially those spread by insects and persist in wildlife—present major challenges to manage in our veterinary patients because these pathogens are all around. This research grant will allow us to work with dogs in some of the most affected areas, where the kissing bug that transmits the parasite are common,” she added.

Grobman and Hamer were selected out of 29 applications reviewed by the 17 members of the 2021-22 Pharmacology Scientific Review Committee.

Administered by the AVMF, funding for the VPRF research grant promotes research examining new or currently approved medications for combating diseases and conditions of companion and food animals. It also supports projects that ensure the safety of food products from treated livestock. Clinicians and scientists interested in veterinary pharmacology are qualified to serve as principal investigators.


VPRF/AVMF pharmacology research grant recipients announced. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. February 17, 2022. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/vprfavmf-pharmacology-research-grant-recipients-announced

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