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MAY 18, 2009
  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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Penn's School of Medicine is currently ranked #3 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's survey of top research-oriented medical schools; and, according to the National Institutes of Health, received over $366 million in NIH grants (excluding contracts) in the 2008 fiscal year. Supporting 1,700 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) includes its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, rated one of the nation’s top ten “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S.News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, named one of the nation’s “100 Top Hospitals” for cardiovascular care by Thomson Reuters. In addition UPHS includes a primary-care provider network; a faculty practice plan; home care, hospice, and nursing home; three multispecialty satellite facilities; as well as the Penn Medicine Rittenhouse campus, which offers comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation facilities and outpatient services in multiple specialties.


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Karen Kreeger
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Related Links
News Release: Locking Parasites in Host Cell Could Be New Way to Fight Malaria
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania Health System

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