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RAPID 1 - Goblet Cells:

- Dr. Liliana Davalos, Stony Brook University

- Dr. Laurel Yohe, Yale University

- Dr. Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, Yale University

RAPID 2 - Immunological Adaptations:

- Dr. David Ray, Texas Tech University

- Dr Diana Moreno Santillan, Texas Tech University

- Dr. Liliana Davalos, Stony Brook University


Santillan, D. M., T. Lama, Y. G. Guerrero, A. Brown, P. Donat, H. Zhao, S. Rossiter, L. R. Yohe, J. Potter, E. C. Teeling, S. Vernes, K. T. J. Davies, E. Myers, G. Hughes, Z. Huang, F. G. Hoffmann, A. P. Corthals, D. Ray, and L. M. Dávalos. PREPRINT submitted. Large-Scale Genome Sampling Reveals Unique Immunity and Metabolic Adaptations in Bats. Molecular Ecology. DOI: 10.22541/au.160977727.76870866/v2




These are two NSF-funded RAPID Resonse projects on COVID-19 centering on the immunology, anatomy and histopathology of bats.


RAPID 1: Collaborative Research: Bat goblet cells as immuno-hotspots for infection of coronavirus - Why are bats so likely to carry coronaviruses, yet seem little affected by them? Many studies have focused on their immune system, but there is much to learn about the cells viruses attack upon entry. Acute respiratory symptoms, as well as the curious loss of the sense of smell in human patients with COVID-19 hint that cells in the nasal passage are afflicted first. Indeed, cells that produce mucus in the nose, known as goblet cells, have been shown to be ?ground zero? for viral entry. Since these cells are also present in bat noses, there must be a difference in how coronaviruses attack goblet cells in bats versus humans. However, virtually nothing is known about immune-related proteins in bat goblet cells. This project proposes a new approach to understand how bats are resistant to respiratory viruses such as those related to SARS-CoV-2. By generating a multi-dimensional study of the anatomy and physiology of the upper respiratory tract, nose and pharynx? of bats, the proposed work will enable researchers to better understand how viruses enter the body and infect or fail to infect their hosts. This project will also allow health agencies around the world to better survey bat populations and prevent future pandemics similar to COVID-19.

RAPID 2:  Collaborative Research: Immunological adaptations in bats to moderate the effect of coronavirus infection - All aspects of society have been upended by COVID-19. While most research has understandably focused on clinical applications, how the ancestors of SARS-CoV2 survive and circulate in nature is vital to both prevent future epidemics and help health professionals develop therapeutic treatments. Because some bat species are natural carriers of many coronaviruses, including the closest known relatives of SARS-CoV-2, the team supported by this award will identify consistent differences between bats and other mammals likely involved in moderating infection by regulating virus entry and mounting an effective immune response. This project will address how bats escape illness despite carrying a wide range of viruses. As part of this work, the research team will develop educational displays related to the bat immunology for public display at the Museum of Texas Tech. Results for the study will also be published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at scientific meetings, and posted to shared data repositories.