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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 5 of 5
Homing Endonucleases for the Cure of Latent HIV Infection
Primary Investigator:
Keith Jerome, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 1 – October 2008
Phase:
Phase II – Fall 2010

Keith Jerome of the University of Washington in the U.S. will utilize a class of proteins called homing endonucleases, which have the ability to cut DNA sequences, to target the DNA sequences unique to HIV, thus disabling the virus from making any more copies of itself. This project’s Phase I research demonstrated that homing endonucleases can find a model virus hidden in the genes of infected cells. In Phase II, Jerome’s team is now modifying these proteins in hopes of producing several that can specifically target and destroy HIV within infected cells.

Multiplex Tetramer Analysis of Vaccine Responses
Primary Investigator:
Mark Davis, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 1 – October 2008
Phase:
Phase II – Fall 2010
Mark Davis of Stanford University in the U.S. will develop a new method to assess specific T cell responses to vaccinations. Using combinations of labeled tetramers to identify many types of T cell responses, Davis hopes to create better and more comprehensive assessments of immunity generated by vaccines. This project’s Phase I led to the development of a new way to color-code T cells as a way to visually quantify immune response to an influenza vaccine. In Phase II, Davis and his team are extending this approach to quantify immune response to other vaccines in an effort to reduce the time needed to determine if a vaccine is working.
Nanocrystal Therapeutics for the Treatment of Multi-Drug Resistant Pathogens
Primary Investigator:
Dan Feldheim, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 1 – October 2008
Phase:
Phase II – Fall 2010

Dan Feldheim of the University of Colorado in the U.S. will test his hypothesis that gold nanocrystals coated with drug compounds can effectively inhibit protein-protein interactions that often drive disease pathogenesis, will be less susceptible to evolutionary mechanisms that lead to drug resistance, and offer enhanced drug delivery characteristics. This project’s Phase I research demonstrated that gold nanocrystals can be tailored to circumvent many viral and bacterial evolutionary drug resistance mechanisms. In Phase II, he is now studying the ability of small molecule-coated nanoparticles to withstand resistance mechanisms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB).

Preventing Malaria Transmission via Mosquito Sensory Damage/Disorientation
Primary Investigator:
Szabolcs Marka, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 1 – October 2008
Phase:
Phase II – Fall 2010

Optical information, temperature gradients, trace gases and volatile odors are key sensory inputs for mosquitoes. To mitigate the transmission of malaria, Szabolcs Marka of Columbia University in the U.S. will research how optical irradiation might be used to physically disrupt mosquitoes' sensory systems such that they can't find human hosts. This project’s Phase I research demonstrated that insects are repelled or change their flight behavior in response to different infrared light gradients. In Phase II, Marka’s team will build on this research to design a prototype device that can deter insect vectors from human hosts.

Strategies to Disable Hypermutagenesis in Malaria Parasites
Primary Investigator:
Pradipsinh Rathod, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 1 – October 2008
Phase:
Phase II – Fall 2010

To fight emergence of drug and vaccine resistance in rapidly evolving parasites, Pradipsinh K. Rathod of the University of Washington in the U.S. will identify the parts of the malaria genome which contribute to rapid increases in mutations, and will screen for small molecules that inhibit these mechanisms. This project’s Phase I research demonstrated that hypermutagenesis does play a strong role in the development of drug resistance. In Phase II, Rathod’s team is continuing to isolate the genetic drivers of hypermutagenesis with the aim of developing a way to disable the process and improve success rates of anti-malarial drugs.

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