NIH gives Feinstein Institute $1.68M to study sepsis therapy

MANHASSET, NY – Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Assistant Professor, Monowar Aziz, PhD, received a five-year, $1.68 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to examine a protein’s role in increasing inflammation and injury in sepsis to develop new therapies.

Sepsis is a body-wide immune system reaction to an infection that is responsible for more than 300,000 deaths in the United States each year and leaves many survivors profoundly disabled. Part of the reaction is inflammation which can lead to severe lung injury. Currently there is no treatment for sepsis – only management of symptoms. Dr. Aziz believes the key to a new treatment may be the mechanisms of inflammatory protein called cold-inducible RNA-binding protein (CIRP).

“Our previous research found that CIRP increases the number of damaging white blood cells called NET-forming ICAM-1+ neutrophils, which cause inflammation and injury during sepsis,” said Dr. Aziz. “With the support of the NIH, we plan to better understand the mechanisms that cause CIRP to increase the production of these cells and investigate a CIRP inhibitor as a new treatment for patients with sepsis and severe lung injury.”

Identifying ways to combat sepsis is a major research priority for the Feinstein Institute and Northwell Health. They formed the Sepsis Task Force, which is headed by Martin Doerfler, MD, Northwell Health senior vice president of clinical strategy and development and associate chief medical officer, and includes Feinstein Institute researchers. To help shorten the diagnosis time – a crucial element to preventing loss of life –the Sepsis Task Force reviewed previous cases to identify the key signs for sepsis. Through this work, they identified a protocol, which includes early administration of fluids and antibiotics, to implement across Northwell Health’s 23 hospitals. As a result, sepsis-related mortalities at those facilities were reduced by almost 70 percent.

“Sepsis is a lethal and common syndrome, and available treatments are inadequate,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute. “Dr. Aziz’s research provides new insights into possible answers for new therapy for future sepsis patients.”


About the Feinstein Institute

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the Feinstein Institute includes 4,000 researchers and staff who are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit

For media inquiries, please contact:

Emily Ng