Debrief – Gates Grand Challenges Round 1 recipients announced

So I’ve been spending the past few weeks, after helping out with a family emergency on the east coast (update: my grandmother is fine now, regaining muscle strength in a rehab facility), basically literature researching and brainstorming from my apartment, on malaria ideas, and preparing a few short applications to the Gates Foundation’s Round 2 of Grand Challenges grants — due Nov. 2nd!

Here’s my quick listing of funded Round 1 applications, just announced today, that either obviously or indirectly relate to creation of a malaria vaccine or therapy.  Approximately 4,000 applications were submitted, of which 104 were awarded.  44 of these were in the topic “Create new ways to protect against infectious diseases“, and 20 in the topic “Create drugs and delivery systems to limit drug resistance“.  And — Congratulations to all the investigators that were awarded these grants!!  It is also exciting to see how much interest there was in these grants, and inspiring to know that scientists are thinking creatively about new infectious disease solutions, as a result of these research funds being made available.

As I have the time, I’ll come back and add some links for further exploration.  I’m also looking forward to sharing some posts soon on the fascinating aspects of malaria, I’ve been digging into recently.

Directly related to malaria:

:. P. falciparum Sexual Reproduction in Vitro and High-Volume Infectious Sporozoite Production for Whole Cell Vaccines
Primary Investigator: James Kublin, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, United States – US (I’m most curious about how Kublin and coworkers propose to do this, since this is a problem I’m also thinking about!  Press release here)

:. Preventing Malaria Transmission via Mosquito Sensory Damage/Disorientation
Primary Investigator: Marka Szabolcs, Columbia University, United States – US

:. Production of a transgenic mosquito, as a flying syringe, to deliver protective vaccine via saliva.
Primary Investigator: Hiroyuki Matsuoka, Jichi Medical University, Japan – JP
Grant Summary: Professor Hiroyuki Matsuoka of Jichi Medical University in Japan will attempt to design a mosquito that can produce and secrete a malaria vaccine protein into a host’s skin. The hope is that such mosquitoes could deliver protective vaccines against other infectious diseases as well.

:. Block Malarial Transmission by Targeting the Xanthreunic
Primary Investigator: Greg Garcia, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, United States – US (I think they meant xanthurenic acid)

:. Endectocides for Controlling Transmission of Mosquito-borne Diseases
Primary Investigator: Brian Foy, Colorado State University, United States – US

:. Induction of Immune Priming in Vectors of Dengue and Malaria in Latin America: A New Strategy to Prevent and Block transmission
Primary Investigator: Humberto Lanz-Mendoza, Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica, Mexico – MX
(Could this mean, targeting mosquitoes in a way that induces a higher immune response in humans bitten by malaria-carrying mosquitoes?)

:. Nanopatch Delivery of DNA-Based Malaria Vaccines to Skin: Precisely Targeting the Skin Immune System for Radically Improved Vaccines
Primary Investigator: Mark Kendall, University of Queensland, Australia – AU

:. Reducing the Burden of Malaria by Targeting Hotspots of Malaria Transmission (REDHOT)
Primary Investigator: Teun Bousema, Radboud University, Netherlands – NL

:. Strategies to Disable Hypermutagenesis in Malaria Parasites
Primary Investigator: Pradipsinh K. Rathod, University of Washington, United States – US

:. Use of Microwave Frequency as Treatment for Malaria
Primary Investigator: Carmenza Spadafora, Institute of Advanced Scientific Investigations and High Technology Services, Panama – PA

:. Turning Houses Into Mosquito Traps
Primary Investigator:Jacques Derek  Charlwood, University of Copenhagen, Denmark – DK

:. Using TBK1, a Novel Molecule Which Controls the Adjuvancticity of DNA Vaccines, to Improve DNA Vaccine Immunogencity against malaria
Primary Investigator:Cevayir Coban, Osaka University, Japan – JP

:. Molecular Engineering of Erythrotropic Bacteria for Treatment and Prevention of Human Malaria
Primary Investigator:Joseph DeRisi, University of California at San Francisco, United States – US

Indirectly or likely related to malaria:

:. “Innovation Bridge”: Linking Biotech Breakthroughs to Emerging Vaccine Manufacturers
Primary Investigator: Matthew Davis, University of Michigan, United States – US

:. A New Platform for Making Effective Vaccines Against Pathogens That Cause Infectious Diseases
Primary Investigator: Ellen Vitetta, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, United States – US

:. Development of a Single Dose, Multicomponent, Thermostable Vaccine
Primary Investigator: Yasmin Thanavala, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, United States – US

Grant Summary: Using thermostable nanoparticles as a delivery mechanism, Yasmin Thanavala of Health Research Inc and Roswell Park Cancer Institute in the U.S. will work to develop a single dose vaccine that can be given as close to birth as possible to protect against multiple diseases.

:. Development of a Type III Protein Secretion System as a Quasi-Synthetic Protein Antigen Delivery Nanomachine
Primary Investigator: Jorge Galan, Yale University, United States – US

:. Engineering Antigen Processing for Improved Immunity
Primary Investigator: Samuel Landry, Tulane University, United States – US

:. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Vaccines by Targeting to a New Dendritic Cell Molecule
Primary Investigator: Irina Caminschi, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Australia – AU

:. Manipulating Gut Flora to Improve Vaccine Responses
Primary Investigator: Barbara Kazmierczak, Yale University, United States – US

:. Molecular Machines Which Catalytically Destroy Pathogen Proteins Required for Infection
Primary Investigator: Philip Bryan, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, United States – US

:. Novel MucoRice System for the Development of Cold-Chain and Needle/Syringe-Free Vaccine
Primary Investigator: Hiroshi Kiyono, The University of Tokyo, Institute of Medical Science, Japan – JP

:. Protein Glycan Coupling Technology and the Development of Novel Conjugate Vaccines
Primary Investigator: Brendan Wren, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom – GB

:. Drugs That Invert Selection for Resistance
Primary Investigator: Roy Kishony, Harvard , United States – US

:. A Novel Structure-Based Model for the Prediction and Exploitation of Resistance Mutations
Primary Investigator: Ryan Lilien, University of Toronto, Canada – CA

Grant Summary: Dr. Ryan Lilien of the University of Toronto in Canada will work to computationally model the structural and functional effects of point mutations on a target protein’s active site. With the development of predictive models of pathogen evolution and the spread of resistance, this information can be used to guide drug development and optimization.

:. Nanocrystal Therapeutics for the Treatment of Multi-Drug Resistant Pathogens
Primary Investigator: Dan Feldheim, University of Colorado, United States – US

:. VACAS: Vaccinating Adjuvant Core Antigen Shell NanoparticlesPrimary Investigator:François Baneyx, University of Washington, United States – US

Out-there cool ideas (which is what this competition is supposed to inspire!):

:. Green Fluorescent Protein as a New Universal Vaccine Against Influenza?
Primary Investigator: Huan Nguyen, International Vaccine Institute, Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of – KP

Grant Summary: Huan Nguyen of the International Vaccine Institute in Korea will explore whether green fluorescent protein is endowed with unique immunological properties which could be used to develop a universal flu vaccine.

[Updated 10/23 with a few awards I missed]

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One comment

  1. […] an interesting initiative (previously mentioned here) and my friend Andrew McKee has already posted a great summary of the grants directly or indirectly related to malaria. It’s interesting to note all the […]

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