The American Heartworm Society board of directors voted in October 2014 to create a new heartworm research fund after determining a need exists for more independent studies on heartworm disease. The new fund is in addition to AHS grant money available for heartworm research through the Morris Animal Foundation.
Dr. Stephen Jones, AHS president, said, “While we will maintain our strong focus on heartworm education through scientific symposia, heartworm guidelines, online initiatives, and client education tools, we have concluded that research also is needed to further our profession’s understanding of this serious disease.”
Along with funding future research, the AHS partnered with the National Center for Veterinary Parasitology at Oklahoma State University to award grants for three studies. The project titles and principal investigators are as follows:
- “Dirofilaria immitis microRNAs influence the expression of canine immune system genes,” Timothy Geary, PhD, McGill University, Montreal.
- “Characterizing the new molecular approaches to the diagnosis of heartworm infection in dogs and cats,” Dr. Charles D. Mackenzie, Michigan State University
- “Developmental and biochemical investigations of Dirofilaria immitis from infective (L3) larvae to patency in an in vitro three-dimensional (3D) primary canine dermal cell microenvironment,” Michael T. Suderman, Cell Systems-3D LLC, Texas.
Information about AHS funding for independent studies is available at heartwormsociety.org/about/our-research.