Two researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have won Grand Challenges Explorations grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to pursue innovative global health and development research projects.
David Sullivan, an associate professor in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, will work with Martin N. Martinov, of Gradient Biomodeling, to create a quantum physics computer model of liver-stage malaria parasite infection in order to screen existing commercial drug and compound databases to identify molecules that possess liver-stage-specific, anti-malarial activity. Those molecules will then be tested in vivo and in vitro, and the ones that are effective will be optimized via computer modeling for future pre-clinical development.
Saifuddin Ahmed, an associate professor in Population, Family and Reproductive Health, will develop and test a low-cost, reusable warming jacket aimed at preventing hypothermia in preterm babies. The jacket uses the nontoxic salt solution currently found in hand warmers and muscle pain relief pads, and could be used in tandem with Kangaroo Mother Care in developing countries where electricity and incubators are not available.
The $100 million Grand Challenges Explorations program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to $1 million.