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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 November 20, 2013, 81 researchers were awarded new Grand Challenges Explorations grants. Read more about these below. In addition, 13 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 58
A Fortified School Meal Product to Deworm School Children
Primary Investigator:
Elijah Songok, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya - KE
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Elijah Songok of the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kenya will design and test a fortified school meal product with deworming properties for treating soil transmitted helminths (parasitic worms) among schoolchildren in developing countries. Schoolchildren are most at risk of infection-associated morbidities such as stunting and chronic dysentery. However, current mass drug administration strategies are associated with the development of drug resistance, and may not be sustainable long term. They will fortify cornflour with seed extracts of the tropical fruit, Carica papaya (pawpaw), which can significantly increase clearance of the parasite, and use it to make porridge, which is cheap and a common school meal snack in developing countries. They will test its efficacy in a randomized pilot study in six elementary schools in rural Kenya.
A Small Animal Model Of Onchocerciasis
Primary Investigator:
Joseph Turner, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom - GB
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Joseph Turner of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom will develop the first small animal model of the parasitic disease onchocerciasis, also called river blindness, which is the second leading infectious cause of blindness. Treatment options for filarial infections are currently limited and lack effectivity. Thus, small animal models of filarial worm infections are invaluable both as a source of worms from all life cycle stages for in vitro drug screening, and for preclinical testing of candidate drugs. The mouse model will be generated by manipulation of immune responses mediating resistance to experimental infection. Onchocerca-susceptible mice will then be validated for testing new potentially curative treatments for onchocerciasis.
A Small Animal Model to Validate Onchocerca Macrofilaricides
Primary Investigator:
Warwick Grant, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - AU
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Warwick Grant of La Trobe University in Australia will develop a small animal parasite model to test candidate drugs for treating the parasitic nematode Onchocerca volvulus, which causes river blindness in humans. They will establish infection of the related parasite Cercopithifilaria johnstoni in rats and evaluate the pathology for similarity to the human disease. The model will then be validated for testing human anti-onchocercal drug candidates by analyzing the effect of drugs with proven success in patients. Once the model has been fully validated, they aim to perform routine assessments of candidate drugs.
Accurate, Accelerated, and Affordable Kit to predict Preterm Birth and Postpartum Recovery
Primary Investigator:
Ashish Ganguly, CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh, India - IN
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Ashish Ganguly and colleagues from the CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology in India will make an affordable paper-based diagnostic to quickly and precisely measure plasma gelsolin levels in expectant mothers to help predict premature delivery and postpartum recovery, thereby reducing new mother and child mortality rates. They will determine the value of plasma gelsolin levels for predicting postpartum-related problems using patient sampling and an animal model of preterm birth. They will also develop the diagnostic by identifying a plasma gelsolin binding peptide that will be used to coat an optimized paper strip, along with a cell phone based read-out to enable remote analysis by a centralized unit. This grant is funded through India’s IKP Knowledge Park and their IKP-GCE program.
BeHere-BeThere Project
Primary Investigator:
Christoph Nann, Serviceplan, Hamburg, Germany - DE
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Christoph Nann, Alex Schill, Maik Kaehler and a team from Serviceplan in Germany will test a simple and modern method for generating donations to developing countries. They will use location-based network applications such as Foursquare, which has over 25 million users who record their locations in cafés, shops and restaurants. By setting up collaborations with local retail partners in Germany, they will label their stores on Foursquare with charity projects in developing countries, such as building water pumps, to promote visitors to the stores. Once an organization has been found that can handle the donations, they will launch the locations on a website. When a Foursquare user visits one of the project-labeled stores it will trigger an automatic donation of an agreed amount from the store to that project. The aim is to spread the approach to other cities.
Cause Generation: A Platform to Define a Generation's Cause
Primary Investigator:
Tony Morain, Ogilvy, San Francisco, CA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Tony Morain of Ogilvy in the U.S. will develop and launch an online platform for university student teams to campaign for their chosen development challenges. The platform will allow the teams to generate a “profile page” and develop a strategy for communicating success with the aid of proven communication tools and access to relevant resources, including case studies of effective communication strategies. Team voting will be used to select a winning campaign to support, which will be provided with funding. The aim is to empower young people with the ability to identify the major development challenges of their generation, and educate them to communicate the effectiveness of aid.
Cheap Yeast-Based Efficient Screens For Antifilarial Drugs
Primary Investigator:
Stephen Oliver, The University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom - GB
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Stephen Oliver and Elizabeth Bilsland at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom will develop a yeast-based screen to identify compounds inhibiting selected enzymes from parasitic filarial worms, which cause several common and debilitating diseases. Candidate enzymes as potential antifilarial drug targets will be selected based on their importance specifically in the adult stages of the parasite life cycle, against which current drugs are ineffective. Yeast strains will be modified to produce these candidate enzymes and used in medium-throughput screens with the freely-available Malaria Box of compounds, which are active against the malaria parasite. This approach is cheaper and easier than current screening methods, and should identify compounds that are highly specific for adult filarial worms.
Chimeric Nematode Models for Anthelmintic Discovery
Primary Investigator:
Richard Komuniecki, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Richard Komuniecki of The University of Toledo in the U.S. will develop a high-throughput screening platform to identify novel drug targets for treating parasitic nematode (worm) infections, which cause significant morbidity in developing countries. Current drugs are ineffective against some parasitic species, and other species are becoming resistant, thus there is an urgent need for alternative approaches. However, high-throughput drug screens have been challenging because most parasitic nematodes cannot be cultured in the laboratory. To bypass this, they will create chimeric nematodes by introducing key neuronal drug targets from parasitic nematodes into the free-living model nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. This adapted model will then be used to develop a screening assay for identifying compounds with anti-parasitic activity. This approach could also be applied to any other existing or proposed drug targets.
Dawadawa Therapy For Intestinal Helminthic Infections
Primary Investigator:
Michael Chan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China - CN
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Michael K. Chan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in China and his collaborators will use dawadawa, a staple food in western Africa, as the basis of a novel therapeutic for treating and preventing multiple parasitic worm (helminthic) infections, which are prevelant in developing countries. Dawadawa can be produced by fermenting soyabeans with Bacillus bacteria. By engineering Bacillus to produce parasite-killing (antihelminth) proteins, they can make a staple food with therapeutic properties at low cost. The antihelminth proteins will be encapsulated within crystals that both protects them from degradation in the human gut as well as incorporating a chemical trigger for targeting release in the intestine, where most of the parasites reside.
Delivery of New Drugs Into Parasitic Nematodes
Primary Investigator:
Stephen Miller, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, United States - US
Topic:
Round:
Round 10 – May 2013
Phase:
Phase I
Stephen Miller and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the U.S. will identify and characterize molecular features that can easily penetrate roundworms (nematodes), which commonly infect humans and can cause disability and death. Current treatment options are limited and toxic, and are losing efficacy due to the development of resistance mechanisms that can prevent the drug from entering the worm. Once molecular features that enhance entry are identified, they will be tested for their ability to promote delivery of a drug they have developed, which is predicted to inhibit the nematode’s nervous system, as a potentially effective new treatment.
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