Wei Li, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of biomedical science at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine was recently awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to further his research on thrombosis.

Thrombosis occurs when blood clots block your blood vessels. It is a lethal complication of systemic diseases such as hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), cancer and diabetes. Platelets, a population of very small cells circulating in the blood, play a critical role in thrombosis.

By using animal models and human platelets, Li’s laboratory found that thymidine phosphorylase (TYMP), a platelet cytoplasmic protein, is necessary for platelet activation, aggregation and thrombosis.

The goal of this funded R15 grant is look deeper into those findings to determine the functional and mechanistic role of TYMP and clarify the detailed pathways that mediate TYMP enhanced platelet activation and thrombosis, and to establish pharmacological inhibition of TYMP as a novel and safe anti-thrombotic therapy.

Li received a $434,461, three-year NIH Research Enhancement Award (R15), which supports small-scale research projects that strengthen the research environment of the institution. This is the second R15 award Marshall has received since August 2018. For more information about research currently underway at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, please visit jcesom.marshall.edu/research.

Originally from Sheanna Spence for Marshall University Communications.