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.

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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $6.7 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2016 fiscal year.

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