DNA Medicine Institute Receives $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for Innovative Global Health Research
Cambridge, MA, May 11, 2010 – The DNA Medicine Institute announced today that it has received a US$100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support an innovative global health research project conducted by Eugene Y. Chan, M.D. titled “Optomagnetic Finger Scanner for Malaria.”
Dr. Chan’s project is one of 78 grants announced by the Gates Foundation in the fourth funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative to help scientists around the world explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries. The grants were provided to scientists in 18 countries on six continents.
To receive funding, Dr. Chan showed in a two-page application how his idea falls outside current scientific paradigms and might lead to significant advances in global health. The initiative is highly competitive, receiving almost 2,700 proposals in this round.
Current diagnosis of malaria requires invasive blood tests requiring sizable equipment. Using light-emitting diodes, magnets, and electronic components available to do-it-yourself hobbyists, Dr. Chan will develop a non-invasive finger scanner that detects the presence of malarial hemozoin crystals in infected individuals.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to pursue an idea that pushes the envelope of malaria diagnosis. Malaria is a deadly disease that afflicts up to 500 million people each year. Millions die from it, including many young children in developing countries. My group is developing a tiny device that scans a finger, without any blood, to allow anyone, anytime, and anywhere to check for malaria infection,” said Dr. Chan.
“The winners of these grants show the bold thinking we need to tackle some of the world’s greatest health challenges,” said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. “I’m excited about their ideas and look forward to seeing some of these exploratory projects turn into life-saving breakthroughs.”
About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a five-year, $100 million initiative of the Gates Foundation to promote innovation in global health. The program uses an agile, streamlined grant process – applications are limited to two pages, and preliminary data are not required. Proposals are reviewed and selected by a committee of foundation staff and external experts, and grant decisions are made within approximately three months of the close of the funding round.
Applications for the current round of Grand Challenges Explorations are being accepted through May 19, 2010. Grant application instructions, including the list of topics for which proposals are currently being accepted, are available at http://www.grandchallenges.org/explorations.