University of Toledo Medical Center Partnership


UTMC Partnership Research Project

The Life as a Zebra Foundation (LAAZF) is pleased to continue its partnership with The University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) to support Dr. Blair Grubb’s groundbreaking Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) research.

Dr. Grubb is a world-recognized expert in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia and POTS, a debilitating disease that causes dizziness, sudden fainting, and an inability to carry on the basic functions of daily life. Dr. Grubb has been named one of America’s Top Doctors by Castle Connolly every year since 2000. POTS patients from around the country and the world seek out Dr. Grubb’s care at UTMC, where they are treated with his trademark kindness, thoroughness, and compassion.

Dr. Grubb is a leader in the discovery and use of new approaches for the treatment of POTS. Dr. Grubb and his colleagues at UTMC have embarked on a research project that holds great promise for unlocking the underlying cause of POTS.

Life as a Zebra Foundation is proud to have helped fund this research with $42,800.37 to date. We could not do this without our supporters. Thank you for helping us make a difference. 

We reached out to Dr. Grubb for the latest updates on his research and he provided us with information about his latest research project and the following links for your review:

  1. We have reported that POTS patients have autoantibodies suggesting that POTS is an autoimmune disorder.
  2. We have identified that POTS patients have elevated innate immune system biomarkers and we have validated this.
  3. We have received funding from Dysautonomia International to evaluate the innate immune system in POTS and COVID19 long haulers who have developed POTS. This research is still ongoing.

As we continue our current research, we have started to look into new areas, outlined below:

  • Investigate Irritable Bowel Syndrome which is a major comorbidity in most POTS Patients. Our interest is to explore the low serotonin in POTS patients as the bowel is the source for serotonin outside of the CNS.
  • Evaluate the gut microbiome (bacterial population) has different species of bacteria have been implicated in cardiovascular disease and nervous system disorders.
    1. Goal is to further examine receptors that they are seeing in both cardiovascular diseases, nervous system disorders. They believe one of these receptors is the primary means for the coronavirus to infect people

As part of the scientific process, the above updates are still being researched to strengthen our research and make new discoveries. A large expense for research is staff, as well as purchasing reagents (substances used to conduct laboratory tests). Previous gifts from your foundation have played a significant role in allowing us to validate the 2019 study to validate innate immune system biomarkers. We want to express our sincere gratitude for your foundation’s support of our research endeavors. Research can be a slow moving process at times, but we are very appreciative of the trust you have given us.


More about Dr. Grubb’s Most Recent Research Study 

Investigation of the Platelet and Activation of the Innate Immune System in POTS and Long COVID

This study will compare platelet function and innate immune system inflammatory markers like TNF-alpha in people with POTS, people who have recovered from POTS, people with Long COVID, and healthy individuals for comparison. Platelets are one of the first lines of defense against viruses and other microbes. Dr. Grubb and Dr. Gunning have previously found that most POTS patients have abnormal platelets due to a deficiency of granules in the cells, which contain many chemicals that signal other cells to defend the body from infections. This can be inherited but can also be the result of long-term inflammation. This study will better characterize platelets and inflammatory markers in POTS and Long COVID, and may provide a biochemical target for future treatments. The following article provides more information.