|Meshnick awarded Gates Foundation grant for innovative research|
|November 18, 2010|
Steven Meshnick, MD, PhD, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health epidemiology professor, has received a Grand Challenges Explorations Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The $100,000 award will support an innovative global health research project titled "Development and Evaluation of the Synthetic Lymph Node."
Meshnick's project is one of 67 grants announced by the Gates Foundation in the fifth 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 highly competitive initiative attracted more than 2,400 proposals in this round, and grants were awarded to scientists in 16 countries on five continents.
Meshnick will collaborate with co-principal investigator Carla Hand, MD, PhD, epidemiology research assistant professor in the UNC public health school, to try to improve vaccine efficacy.
The research team will enclose vaccine samples within miniature biocompatible, biodegradable polymer structures that resemble human lymph nodes. The synthetic nodes, small enough to be injected subcutaneously with a 20-gauge needle, will begin to mimic the function of an actual lymph node and elicit the body's immunity. If successful, the synthetic lymph nodes have potential to make new vaccines viable, old vaccines more effective, and those too expensive to manufacture or in scarce supply reach more people.
"We're very excited and grateful [to have received this support]," Meshnick said. "The Gates Grand Challenge Exploration program is unique in that it encourages scientists to take risks. Thanks to this grant, we're now able to follow a novel avenue of research which could potentially lead to better vaccines for many diseases."
"These are bold ideas from innovative thinkers, which is exactly what we need in global health research right now," said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Program. "I'm excited to see some of these daring projects develop into life-saving breakthroughs for those who need them the most."
Grand Challenges Explorations is a five-year, $100 million initiative of the Gates Foundation to promote innovation in global health. The next round of Grand Challenges Explorations will open in March 2011. More information, including grant application instructions and a list of topics for which proposals will be accepted, will be available at www.grandchallenges.org/explorations.
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Read more about Grand Challenges Explorations online.
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Last updated November 18, 2010|