Second Call for Proposals focused on COVID-19-related Cardiovascular Disease The Cardiovascular Translational Dream Team Initiative


Opening date: May 13, 2021
Application due date: July 14, 2021 at 5pm ET
Anticipated funding start date: September 1, 2021


Rationale and Overview

We are witnessing an unprecedented pandemic. In addition to the significant mortality related to acute SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) infection, chronic complications, including heart and vascular sequelae, are now recognized to cause significant morbidity. However, the frequency and relevance of post-COVID cardiovascular (CV) complications have not been well-defined, and strategies for detection and risk stratification do not exist. In addition, the contribution of CV derangements to the so-called COVID “long hauler” syndrome is unknown. The Penn Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) recently launched an initiative to provide seed funding for team-based efforts focused on COVID-related myocarditis.  We are now making a second call for proposals with broadened target areas including both heart and vascular disease (e.g. vasculopathy, coagulopathy), and emphasis on short- and long-term complications post-infection. Studies focused on existing human cohorts and/or biobank samples will be prioritized. Applications will be reviewed and selected by an Executive Steering Committee (ESC) comprised of senior Penn scientists and ad-hoc experts.  We plan to fund up to 2-3 projects ($50,000- $100,000 each) for a one-year period. It is our hope that this seed funding will allow rapid acquisition of early-stage data to provide rationale for longer-term projects ultimately funded through external sources such as NIH, foundations, and/or industry. Notably, the NIH has also announced, and is launching, several efforts to fund chronic complications of COVID-19.


Examples of projects that would be appropriate for this funding mechanism include but are not limited to:
  • Studies focused on deep cardiac or vascular phenotyping of longitudinal human cohorts post-COVID infection:
    • Diagnosis
    • Disease risk stratification
    • Therapeutic approaches
  • Unbiased OMIC and/or genetic profiling of plasma or tissue samples from well-phenotyped humans post-COVID infection (vs controls) to identify predictive biosignatures; to segregate patients with severe phenotypes of disease from patients with similar phenotypes not due to COVID; and to guide medical decision making. The use of existing Penn or CHOP biobanks is strongly encouraged, and we can assist with identification of ongoing post-COVID tissue collection activities as needed.
  • Studies of the role of specific autoantibodies and/or cytokines in post-COVID CV disease.
  • Imaging approaches to detect heart and vascular sequelae of COVID infection such as inflammation, fibrosis, vasculitis or coagulopathy.
  • Delineation of risk factors and/or pathobiology related to the systemic inflammation and vasculopathy that occurs in a subset of children post-COVID infection; studies of the longer-term impact of this disorder to guide recommendations on therapies and/or activity levels (e.g. competitive sports).
  • Why is cardiovascular disease (including hypertension) a major risk factor for complications from COVID? Which “cardiovascular risk factors” (including hypertension, vascular events, stroke, and cardiac events) influence morbidity and mortality post-COVID? Does obesity synergize with CV disease to influence post-COVID complications? Mechanisms?
  • Studies aimed at determining the contribution of CV abnormalities to the “long-haul” syndrome including the potential role of:
    • Cardiovascular risk factors
    • Underlying CV disease
    • Dysautonomia
  • Does COVID-19 vaccination increase risk for, or severity of, chronic heart or vascular disease in the short-term or long-term? Mechanisms?

Please direct any questions related to the application or funding to Teresa Leone at


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