Back to Stories & News

DENVER/February 22, 2022 – Morris Animal Foundation is now accepting proposals for studies that will address the unique and pressing health concerns of senior dogs. The Mark L. Morris Jr. Investigator Award will fund a study of up to $250,000 for a maximum of three years. Grant applications are due by Monday, June 27, 2022, 4:59 p.m. ET.

The Mark L. Morris Jr. Investigator Award is designed to support impactful companion animal research for which there is a pressing need, with the potential to make rapid, meaningful progress. First awarded in 2016, it was created to honor the legacy and vision of Dr. Mark Morris Jr., son of the Foundation’s founder, Dr. Mark Morris Sr. The senior dog health research project will be the third Mark L. Morris Jr. Investigator Award to be awarded.

The focus area of the award was determined from owner and veterinarian survey data and expert opinion. The goal of the new award is to improve senior dog care as well as support dog owners as they navigate their pet’s senior years.

“The complexity of senior dog care presents many challenges to veterinarians in practice,” said Dr. Janet Patterson-Kane, Chief Scientific Officer. “From managing multiple health conditions, to balancing the side effects of prescriptions, to diagnosing and treating physical and cognitive challenges, caring for senior dogs requires more care and attention from both veterinarians and owners. We hope the new research funded by this award will help advance that care to improve the quality of life for senior dogs everywhere.”

Mark L. Morris Jr. Investigator Award proposals should demonstrate the unique and strategic nature of the proposed research and address how the project advances the field of senior dog health. Preference will be given to collaborative projects with the potential to rapidly translate findings to primary care practice. An overview of the research themes that emerged from a roundtable discussion of this topic by a panel of experts can be found here. We anticipate that successful projects will take these, or very closely related approaches.

Applications will be reviewed and rated, based on impact and scientific rigor, by a scientific advisory board, made up of canine health experts. Interested researchers can learn more and apply for the award on the Foundation's Grants page.

Scientific Advisory Board

  • Talisha Moore, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, University of Tennessee
  • Courtney Campbell, DVM, DACVS-SA, Vetsurg
  • Sheilah Robertson, BVMS (Hons), PhD, DACVAA, DECVAA, DACAW, DECAWBM (WSEL), CVA, MRCVS, Lap of Love
  • Carlo Siracusa, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVB, DECAWBM, University of Pennsylvania
  • Heidi Lobprise, DVM, Cibolo Creek Veterinary Hospital
  • Jeff Feinman, VMD, CVH, Holistic Actions
  • Brian Bello, University of Denver
  • Melissa Upjohn, BVetMed RVC, MSc, PhD,  The Dogs Trust, UK
  • Korinn Saker, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVN, NCSU
  • Frances Chen, DVM, PhD, Loyal (Cellular Longevity)
  • Carolyn Chen, DVM, Compassionate Care Pet Euthanasia [General Practitioner]
  • Dean Vicksman, DVM - Evans East Animal Hospital [General Practitioner]
  • Lenore Bacek, DVM - Blue Pearl [General Practitioner]

About Morris Animal Foundation

Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Denver, it is one of the largest nonprofit animal health research organizations in the world, funding more than $142 million in critical health studies across a broad range of animals including cats, dogs, horses and wildlife species. Learn more at

Media contact: Kelly Diehl