Navigation Links
UConn receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for research in global health and development

Storrs, Conn. The University of Connecticut announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Professors Leslie M. Shor (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering) and Daniel J. Gage (Molecular & Cell Biology) will pursue an innovative global health and development research project intended to increase crop yields in developing countries through the expanded use of beneficial bacteria.

"It's an honor to have our project chosen by the Gates Foundation," says Shor, an assistant professor affiliated with UConn's Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering. "But the most exciting part is knowing that our work could make a difference in the world. That's why I became an engineer in the first place."

"I am excited about the opportunity the Gates Grand Challenges Explorations grant gives us," says Gage, an associate professor in UConn's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "It will let us see if what we have learned when doing very fundamental microbiology and plant research can lead to new and practical tools for farmers around the world."

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.

Shor's and Gage's project, entitled "Structuring the Rhizosphere: Using Protozoa to Sow Bacteria," is one of over 80 Grand Challenges Explorations grants recently announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"Investments in innovative global health research are already paying off," says 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, Shor and Gage 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.

The UConn research team will use the GCE funds to explore new ways to distribute beneficial bacteria in soils to improve the health of food crops. Gage is an expert on the microenvironment of the rhizosphere - that narrow region of the soil around a plant's roots that is critical to capturing nutrients and suppressing disease. Beneficial bacteria found in the rhizosphere inhibit pathogens, produce antibiotics, help plants absorb soil nutrients, and moderate ambient soil moisture. Protozoa are also found in the rhizosphere. Shor specializes in artificial microbial habitats and the migration of protozoa in confined environments.

Focusing on bean and wheat plants, Shor and Gage will investigate the potential for using natural protozoa in the rhizosphere to better distribute beneficial bacteria among the roots of growing crops. The bacteria would be delivered into the soil on seed coatings and then dispersed by protozoa in the microenvironment. Conventional biocontrol technologies often fail to deliver enough functioning bacteria within the rhizosphere to stave off fungal and bacterial attacks that can limit crop yields. Ultimately, better distribution of these "good" bacteria could improve crop productivity for farmers in developing countries.

Contact: Colin Poitras, UConn Media Relations
University of Connecticut

Related biology news :

1. UConn researchers discover that red tide species is deadlier than first thought
2. Baylor University scientist receives major grants for health research on 1991 Gulf War veterans
3. Carnegie Institution for Science receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant
4. BRI receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant
5. Feinstein Institute receives $1 million grant to study impact of World Trade Center attacks on responders
6. Emory receives $20 million NSF grant for chemistry center
7. Pitt biologist receives $2 million to study genetic diversity of plants worldwide
8. Pioneering researcher receives Heart Association Lifetime Achievement Award
9. Wayne State receives $2.8 million grant from US Administration for Children and Families
10. UCLA Receives $46 Thousand Check for Groundbreaking Research on Debilitating Pregnancy Disease
11. Einstein researcher receives $10.8 million grant to study toxic blood reactions caused by hemoglobin
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
UConn receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for research in global health and development
(Date:5/9/2016)... 2016 Elevay is currently known ... freedom for high net worth professionals seeking travel for ... connected world, there is still no substitute for a ... sealing your deal with a firm handshake. This is ... advantage of citizenship via investment programs like those offered ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to grow ... 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being implemented ... healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for controlling ...
(Date:4/13/2016)...  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... standard in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with ... IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health measurements, such ... and, when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER ... local retail location at no cost. By leveraging this ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge ... envision new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, ... Art (MoMA) in New York City ... 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today ... Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am ... and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... offering new biological discoveries to the medical community, has ... and co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We ... provide us with the capital we need to meet ... funding will essentially provide us the runway to complete ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only ... Center and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June ... scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: