May 18, 2009

CONTACT: Karen Kreeger
(215) 349-5658
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu


Penn Researcher Receives Grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Study New Approaches to Fight Malaria

PHILADELPHIA - A University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researcher has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support a global health research project conducted by Doron Greenbaum, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, to look for new ways to fight malaria.

Greenbaum’s project is one of 81 grants announced by the Gates Foundation in the second funding round of the Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative to help scientists around the world explore largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries. The grants were provided to scientists in 17 countries on six continents.

To receive funding, Greenbaum showed in a two-page application how his idea falls outside current scientific paradigms and might lead to advances in global health. The initiative is highly competitive, receiving more than 3,000 proposals in this round.

Greenbaum is investigating a new type of anti-parasitic that targets the parasite’s own membrane instead of its internal proteins. Currently his lab is testing molecules that react against the membranes of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the most malaria deaths worldwide, especially children.

“The Gates Foundation Explorations award will allow my laboratory to pursue a new idea to develop antimalarial drugs that will minimize the chances for resistance to occur in the parasite,” notes Greenbaum.

“The winners of these grants are doing truly exciting and innovative work,” says Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. “I’m optimistic that some of these exploratory projects will lead to life-saving breakthroughs for people in the world’s poorest countries.”

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This release is available online at
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2009/05/gates-malaria-research-grant.html