Grants Awarded
 
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 Grand Challenges Explorations Grants

Grand Challenges Explorations fosters creative projects that show great promise to improve the health of people in the developing world. Grants target an expanding set of global health topics, and there are two award rounds per year. Projects with demonstrated success in their initial phase of research have the opportunity to receive Phase II funding of up to $1 million.

On June 3, 2014, 52 researchers were awarded new Grand Challenges Explorations grants. Read more about these below. In addition, 3 Explorations projects were awarded Phase II funding. To read more about these new Phase II grants, select "Phase II" in the Grant Phase drop-down menu, while showing all topics and all rounds.

To review all Explorations projects, select “Show All Topics” in the Topic drop-down menu, "Show All Rounds" in the Date and Grant Round drop-down menu, and “Show All Phases” in the Grant Phase drop-down menu.

Topic
Technologies
Date and Grant Round
Grant Phase
Showing Grants 1 to 10 of 1071
3-D Human Small Intestinal Organoid for Enteric Infections
Primary Investigator:
Cirle Warren, The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Cirle Warren of the University of Virginia  in the U.S. will develop a three dimensional cell culture model (organoid) of the human intestine to study diarrheal diseases. They will build the organoids in a bioreactor using three intestinal cell types, and test different scaffolds to simulate the complex cellular and structural architecture of the human gut. The organoids will then be infected with Cryptosporidium, a common cause of diarrhea in developing countries, and analyzed for altered structural and molecular characteristics to gain insight into the host infection response. This model could also be used to identify new drug targets and evaluate candidate drugs.
A Mouse Model for Heat-Stable Enterotoxin Diarrhea
Primary Investigator:
James Nataro, The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
James Nataro of the University of Virginia in the U.S. will develop a mouse model of secretory diarrhea to facilitate testing of new therapies and vaccines. The heat stable enterotoxin produced by the bacterium enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli is one of the most common causes of moderate to severe diarrhea. They will genetically engineer another bacterium, Citrobacter rodentium, which can infect mice, to express the toxin, and evaluate infected mice for diarrhea-related symptoms. Once the model is established, it can be used to study disease pathogenesis and to test candidate therapies, such as anti-secretory agents and vaccines.
A Small Animal Model of ETEC-Mediated Diarrhea
Primary Investigator:
Sandhya Visweswariah, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India - IN
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Sandhya Visweswariah of the Indian Institute of Science in India will generate a mouse model for studying secretory diarrhea, which causes significant mortality in young children. Secretory diarrhea is often caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli, which produces a toxin that binds to a cell surface receptor (the guanylyl cyclase C receptor) in the gastrointestinal tract thereby causing diarrhea. They will genetically engineer a mouse in which they can hyperactivate this receptor specifically in intestinal cells to potentially trigger secretory diarrhea. The effect on the gastrointestinal tract and any accompanying molecular changes will then be analyzed and could lead to the discovery of new therapeutic targets.
Abate: Human-Scented “Trojan Cows” Kill Vectors of Disease
Primary Investigator:
Agenor Mafra-Neto, ISCA Technologies, Inc., Riverside, CA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Agenor Mafra-Neto of ISCA Technologies, Inc. in the U.S. will test whether an artificial lactic acid treatment (called abate) can trick disease-transmitting insects such as mosquitoes into infecting animals rather than their preferred human hosts, thereby reducing infection rates. Malaria-causing parasites are carried by mosquitoes, which identify the human hosts that help them reproduce by detecting the high levels of lactic acid in human perspiration. Cattle are resistant to malaria and many other human diseases transmitted by insects, and are often treated with deworming medication, which has a toxic effect on mosquitoes and their parasites. They will develop a stable formula of abate and test its effect on altering host choice of several disease-transmitting insects to determine which is most effective.
Accurate, Accelerated and Affordable Kit to Predict Sickle Cell Disease Using Microfluidics and Cell Phone-based Imaging Systems
Primary Investigator:
Debjani Paul, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India - IN
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Debjani Paul, Ninad Mehendale and Ammar Jagirdar from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in India will develop a simple system to detect sickle cell disease for use by untrained individuals in tribal populations in India in order to reduce infant mortality rates. Current diagnostics require expensive equipment and trained personnel, and are often inaccessible to the rural populations most in need. They will produce a microfluidic chip that can preserve a sample of blood in the deoxygenated environment required to maintain its characteristic sickle-shape, which can then be detected by a modified mobile phone camera and automated software that they will also develop. The system will be tested for sensitivity and specificity using blood from patients with sickle cell disease. This grant was selected through India's IKP Knowledge Park and their IKP-GCE program.
Adolescents and Youth Taking Control of their HIV Treatment
Primary Investigator:
Peter Gichangi, International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya, Mombasa, Kenya - KE
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Peter Gichangi of the International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya in Kenya will develop a website for 10 – 24 year olds with HIV to help guide them safely through adolescence and improve adherence to treatment. This age group experiences unique physical and emotional stresses, and for those with HIV, adherence to treatment is relatively low. They will develop and launch a secured website in consultation with the target age group to enable individuals to access HIV-related information; query health professionals, including the possibility for live chats; participate in forums; and retrieve their personal treatment data. They will set up a randomized study and evaluate their approach by measuring number of users and web behavior, and whether it increased adherence to treatment and appointment visits.
Air-Infused Female Condom
Primary Investigator:
Mache Seibel, HealthRock, LLC, Newton, VA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Mache Seibel and team from HealthRock, LLC in the U.S. have invented a female condom that is inflated and positioned using air pressure and provides additional stimulation, which they will test in the laboratory and in clinical trials. The only available female condom has not been widely accepted partly because it is difficult to position, conspicuous, reduces sensation, and can make sounds during use. The new condom is made from polyurethane to minimize sound emission, and the inflation mechanism ensures quicker insertion. The shape is also designed to enhance sensation for both the male and female during intercourse.
An Integrated Human Enteroid Model of EED
Primary Investigator:
Honorine Ward, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Honorine Ward of Tufts Medical Center with Mary Estes at Baylor College of Medicine in the U.S. and Gagandeep Kang at Christian Medical College in India will develop a three dimensional cell culture model (enteroid) of the human intestine to study environmental enteric dysfunction (EED), which is associated with substantial morbidity in young children in the developing world. They will grow enteroids from isolated intestinal crypts derived from unused surgical samples from children with and without EED in India. They will study the structure and function of these enteroids and their value as a model of EED by analyzing biomarkers in associated blood and stool samples. Once validated, they will supplement the model with immune cells and gut microbes that they will co-isolate from the same individuals to develop a ‘mini-gut’ model that more closely mimics the human disease, which can be used to develop and evaluate targeted therapies.
Can a Decision-Making Nudge Improve Birth Outcomes?
Primary Investigator:
Margaret McConnell, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 12 – June 2014
Phase:
Phase I
Margaret McConnell and Jessica Cohen of Harvard School of Public Health in the U.S. will evaluate whether motivating pregnant women to choose a health care facility for delivering their baby prior to the onset of labor, along with offering free transportation to that facility, increases the safety of childbirth in Kenya. Currently, maternal and neonatal deaths in developing countries remain high despite the availability of high quality facilities for child delivery. Obstacles to using these facilities include lack of transportation and limited information on their quality, which means many couples avoid deciding and end up either giving birth at home or going to a suboptimal facility, sometimes after a long delay. They will conduct a pilot study by recruiting 1,200 pregnant women in Nairobi, and evaluate whether offering transportation vouchers to a pre-chosen facility positively impacts delivery outcomes and timing of arrival at health care facilities.
ColdTrace - A Low-Cost System for Remote Temperature Monitoring of the Vaccine Cold Chain
Primary Investigator:
Nithya Ramanathan, Nexleaf Analytics, Los Angeles, CA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 8 – May 2012
Phase:
Phase II – Spring 2014
Nithya Ramanathan from Nexleaf Analytics in the U.S. will develop a low-cost mobile phone-based device to remotely monitor the temperature of refrigerated units that store and transport temperature–sensitive vaccines and drugs. In Phase I, they produced and tested a simple prototype temperature-sensing device and associated software that enables the wireless uploading of accurate temperature data for real-time monitoring, along with the ability to send SMS alerts upon reaching critical temperatures. They also undertook pilot studies in 17 clinics in Kenya and Haiti to test accuracy, usability, and efficacy for protecting cold-sensitive therapeutics specifically in low-resource environments. In Phase II, they will work towards further reducing costs, ensure that it can be widely used to monitor the entire cold-chain, and facilitate data sharing. They will also conduct larger pilot tests in Kenya, Haiti, Mozambique and India, and develop a commercialization plan including pricing and implementation models.
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