Fifteen teams of Brown faculty researchers have received a total of $350,000 from the University’s new COVID-19 Research Seed Fund.  Brown established the fund to fast track innovative research proposals that directly address the urgent needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards will support research with the potential for significant and rapid impact on  human health and  research that could create products of immediate need for the healthcare system in Rhode Island and the nation.
 
Awards have been made to these projects:

Co-PIs: Rosa Baier, Center for Long-Term Care Quality & Innovation, School of Public Health; Elizabeth White, Center for Gerontology & Healthcare Research, School of Public Health; Terrie Fox Wetle, Center for Gerontology & Health Care Research
An electronic survey will be administered to frontline staff working in nursing homes and other long-term care settings across the country to capture and rapidly disseminate best practices.

PI: Lalit Beura, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
With males apparently at higher risk for infection and death from COVID-19, this project will test, in a mouse model, the role of testosterone in disease severity. 

PI: Ugur Cetintemel, Computer Science
Co-PIs: Harrison Bai, Diagnostic Imaging, Ritambhara Singh, Computer Science
This research will develop an AI platform to differentiate COVID-19 from other viral pneumonia on chest CT, and use the information to identify early-stage patients who are likely to transition to severe disease.

PI: Elizabeth Chen, Brown Center for Biomedical Informatics
Co-PIs: Philip Chan, Medicine; A. Rani Elwy, Psychiatry and Human Behavior; Fizza Gillani, Medicine; Joseph W. Hogan, Biostatistics; Sorin Istrail, Computer Science; Indra Neil Sarkar, Brown Center for Biomedical Informatics and Rhode Island Quality Institute.
This project will establish an inter-institutional informatics infrastructure to support COVID-19 research in Rhode Island through electronic health data, digital health technology, and data science techniques. 

PI: Wafik El-Deiry, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
This research aims to reduce the virus’ capacity to cause death, through immune modulation and discovery of drugs that block it.  

PI: William Fairbrother, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry 
This project aims to develop a sample unit for a potential home testing kit for COVID-19.

PIs: Daniel Harris, Jacob Rosenstein, Roberto Zenit, School of Engineering
Ventilators are among the most critical aspects of COVID-19 treatment, and this project is aimed at speeding their production through a new design using 3D printed and off-the-shelf parts that can be produced rapidly and locally. 

PI: Edward Hawrot, Biology and Medical Science
Co-PIs: Bharat Ramratnam, Medicine; Gregory Jay, Emergency Medicine and Engineering; Francesca Beaudoin, Emergency Medicine.
An inter-institutional blood biorepository to support COVID-19 research in Rhode Island will be created.

PI: Amanda Jamieson, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Co-Is: Emily Oster, Economics; Jeffrey Bailey, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine ; Shaolei Lu, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; James Barbeau, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. 
Responding to the existence of a large number of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, this research seeks to gain a broader understanding of how widespread exposure to the COVID-19 virus is in the local population.  

PI: Amanda Jamieson, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Collaborators: Graphene Composites Limited.
This research will test the ability of graphene/silver nanoparticle ink formulation to be used in personal protective equipment as a way of reducing virus transmission rates. 

PI: Chun Lee, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Co-PIs: Jack A. Elias, Medicine; Suchitra Kamle, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; Bing Ma, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; Bharat Ramratnam, Medicine
This research will test whether Chitinase 3-like 1 (Chi3l1), a powerful inhibitor of epithelial cell death, can be used as a biomarker of CoV-2 infection that predicts disease severity and progression.

PI: Eleftherios Mylonakis, Infectious Diseases
Co-PI: Philip Chan, Medicine, Behavioral and Social Sciences
A statewide Rhode Island model will be created to understand the epidemiology and clinical outcomes of patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

PIs: Mandar Naik, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology; Walter Atwood, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry; Gerwald Jogl, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry; Nicolas Fawzi, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology
This research will identify inhibitors of the CoV2 N protein that can potentially be further developed as drugs against coronaviruses.

PI: Anubhav Tripathi, School of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering; Rami Kantor, Infectious Diseases
This project will develop a molecular surveillance tool and capacity to monitor spread of the virus regionally and beyond.

PI: Ira Wilson, Health Services, Policy and Practice
Co-PIs: Omar Galarraga, Health Services, Policy and Practice; Amal Trivedi, Health Services, Policy and Practice
This research will review health care claims in Rhode Island to examine the impact of COVID-19 social distancing measures on health care utilization and outcomes, particularly for the most needy people, such as chronically-ill patients.