COVID-19 Pilot Grant Program Awardees

The COVID-19 Pilot Grant Program launched at the end of March in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In a very short time, CTSI received an overwhelming amount of interest from the research community:

  • A total of 157 projects applied to the grant program.
  • Of those projects, there were 590 unique investigators representing 14 different Pitt schools and over 90 Pitt departments, divisions, centers and institutes.
  • Forty-six different universities were represented on the teams.

On Thursday, April 16, CTSI awarded $900,000 to 17 studies to address different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding for the projects was provided by the University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research, and the DSF Charitable Foundation, which contributed $350,000.

Please see below for the list of COVID-19 Pilot Grant Program awardees.



Recipients of $100,000 Awards

SARS-CoV-2 clinical and community serosurveillance, Principal Investigators (co-PIs) Paul Duprex, PhD, Anita McElroy, MD, PhD, and Alan Wells, MD, DMSc

Recipients of $50,000 Awards

Biomarkers for Predicting Viral Pneumonia Severity, Principal Investigator (PI) John Alcorn, PhD

Cellular Mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 Infection, co-PIs Sally Wenzel, MD, and Xiuxia Zhou, PhD

Coronavirus and Lung Microbiome Interactions, PI Georgios Kitsios, MD, PhD

COVID-19 Neurologic Manifestations, PI Sherry Hsiang-Yi Chou, MD, MMSc

COVID-Insight Triage and Monitoring Tool, PI David Salcido, PhD, MPH

Determinants of COVID-19 clinical outcomes, co-PIs Christian Fernandez, PhD, Ernesto Marques, MD, PhD, Donald Burke, MD, and Philip Empey, PharmD, PhD

Generation of transgenic hACE2 knock-in mice, co-PIs Andrea Gambotto, MD, Lou Falo, MD, PhD, Mark Shlomchik, MD, PhD, and William Klimstra, PhD

Impact of Maternal COVID-19 Infection on Newborns, co-PIs Anne-Marie Rick, MD, MPH, and Judith Martin, MD

Lung-Targeting SARS-CoV-2 Therapeutic, PI Raymond Frizzell, PhD

Modeling Strategies for the COVID-19 Pandemic, PI Mark Roberts, MD

Pediatric Epidemiology SARS-CoV-2 antibody response, co-PIs Sarah Wheeler, PhD, Glenn Rapsinski, MD, PhD, and Megan Culler Freeman, MD, PhD

SARS-CoV-2 Cellular Imaging System, PI Zandrea Ambrose, PhD

SARS-CoV-2 Immune Escape Variants in Treatment, PI Jana Jacobs, PhD

SARS-CoV-2 Prevention Spray, Co-PIs Lisa Rohan, PhD, and Sravan Kumar Patel, PhD

Therapeutic nanobodies for SARS-CoV-2, PI Yi Shi, PhD

Therapy for COVID-19 Induced ARDS, PI Luis Ortiz, MD