Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason wins Grand Challenges Explorations grant

Published on November 1, 2012 at 1:44 AM · No Comments

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Brad Stone, PhD, BRI Research Assistant Member and Principal Investigator for the grant, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled "Rapid Vaccine Development Using Synthetic Minigene Libraries."

"We are excited to partner with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an effort to accelerate vaccine design for malaria and other infectious diseases of global importance," said Dr. Stone. "This award represents a significant opportunity to leverage new DNA synthesis and sequencing technologies for world health."

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide who are taking innovative approaches to some of the world's toughest and persistent global health and development challenges. GCE invests in the early stages of bold ideas that have real potential to solve the problems people in the developing world face every day. Dr. Stone's project is one of over 80 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"Investments in innovative global health research are already paying off," said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We continue to be impressed by the novelty and innovative spirit of Grand Challenges Explorations projects and are enthusiastic about this exciting research. These investments hold real potential to yield new solutions to improve the health of millions of people in the developing world, and ensure that everyone has the chance to live a healthy productive life."

To receive funding, Dr. Stone and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a creative idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, immunization and communications. Applications for the current open round, Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10, will be accepted through November 7, 2012.

Dr. Stone of the Benaroya Research Institute and Sean Murphy, MD, PhD, of the University of Washington propose a novel approach for rapid production and testing of complex malaria vaccine formulations. If successful, this approach will rapidly identify protective target antigens in a fraction of the time required using conventional technologies.

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