Grants to Fund Research on Blood Clotting
By Mark Dwortzan
Assistant Professor Matthias Schneider (ME) has received two awards in recognition of his research on blood clotting: a Baxter Bioscience Award, which supports novel therapeutic discoveries, and a Pfizer Hemophilia Award, which funds basic and clinical research on hemophilia, a rare disorder in which blood does not clot normally. Schneider is the first physicist to receive the latter award, which is typically bestowed on three researchers per year.
The Baxter Bioscience grant, totaling $80,000, will enable Schneider to pursue a more precise understanding of the physiological conditions of blood flow after injury, information that could shed light on how bleeding is stopped and clots begin to form. He will conduct biophysical experiments and computer simulations to investigate the role of “elongational flow”—stresses that occur in the direction of flow within a blood vessel—in catalyzing the process by which blood platelets become sticky and adhere to the injury site.
The Pfizer award, a $230,000 Advancing Science Through Pfizer-Investigator Research Exchange (ASPIRE) Hemophilia Research grant, will fund Schneider’s efforts to exploit biophysical concepts and tools to advance new strategies to increase the lifetime of FVIII, an essential blood-clotting protein also known as anti-hemophilic factor (AHF). The research aims to generate new clinical solutions for patients with Hemophilia A, a deficiency in AHF that’s the most common form of the disease. Schneider plans to develop a microfluidic device that models the physiological conditions of blood flow, and engineer and test a synthetic version of AHF that’s more durable under such conditions.
“One approach to correcting deficiency in this blood-clotting protein is to inject supplements into the bloodstream, but this can cause the body to develop an adverse immune system response over time,” said Schneider. “Our research aims to improve the body’s natural mechanisms and can therefore serve as a role model for other therapies whose effectiveness is compromised by such immune responses.”