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University of Maryland School of Medicine Researcher Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development

June 09, 2015

Miriam K. Laufer MD

University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced today that the school is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Miriam K. Laufer, MD, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the school, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project to to base malaria treatment and prevention activities within schools.

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Dr. Laufer’s project is one of more than 50 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 14 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To receive funding, she and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included development of the new ways to measure fetal and infant brain development. The foundation will be accepting applications for the next GCE round in September 2015.

Dr. Laufer and her colleagues will set up a school-based program to improve the health of children in rural Malawi. This program will integrate education about and treatment of malaria with other neglected tropical diseases. In these areas, Dr. Laufer has found that school-age children carry the largest burden of these diseases. By linking malaria control to existing disease control programs, the researchers hope to strengthen the impact of all school-based programs.

About Grand Challenges Explorations

Grand Challenges Explorations is a $100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 1100 projects in more than 60 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant 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.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

The University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 and is the first public medical school in the United States and continues today as an innovative leader in accelerating innovation and discovery in medicine. The School of Medicine is the founding school of the University of Maryland and is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. Located on the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide a research-intensive, academic and clinically based education. With 43 academic departments, centers and institutes and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians and research scientists plus more than $400 million in extramural funding, the School is regarded as one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the U.S. with top-tier faculty and programs in cancer, brain science, surgery and transplantation, trauma and emergency medicine, vaccine development and human genomics, among other centers of excellence. The School is not only concerned with the health of the citizens of Maryland and the nation, but also has a global presence, with research and treatment facilities in more than 35 countries around the world.


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