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Functional Circulation LLC Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development

NORTHBROOK, Ill., May 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Functional Circulation LLC announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Functional Circulation CEO John Brassil and colleagues will pursue an innovative global health and development research project titled "Smart Bowl Conveys Cassava to Market with Pest Control."

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. Brassil's project is one of over 100 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 8 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

"Grand Challenges Explorations encourages individuals worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas where creative, unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed," said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We're excited to provide additional funding for select grantees so that they can continue to advance their idea towards global impact."

To receive funding, Brassil and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 8 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, immunization and nutrition. Applications for the current open round, Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9, will be accepted through May 15, 2012. 

The project developed by Brassil and colleagues will improve the bowls used by small-scale farmers to carry cassava roots to market by embedding natural pest repelling ingredients and passive communication electronics. These improvements will reduce the existing 20% loss of crops due to attacks by termites, whiteflies, scale, and grasshoppers, and will enable data to be collected that will show how the bowls are used and whether they are effective. "We are greatly encouraged by our Grand Challenges Explorations win," Brassil said. "By using these new bowls to prevent the transportation of infested vegetables, we aim to reduce and contain the contagious spread of pests." 

About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 600 people in 45 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 US$100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.

About Functional Circulation LLC
Functional Circulation is a biotechnology research partnership that provides research and development services in sustainable systems, with disciplines in mechanical engineering, prototyping, and glassblowing. Founded in 2008, the company develops and commercializes technology-driven systems and products that reduce resource use and prevent harmful impact while accomplishing important new objectives in biologically related fields, including a special research focus on organ and tissue transplantation. The company's work has applications in medical devices, scientific equipment, and everyday implements, and its teams collaborate with leading researchers worldwide. For more about Function Circulation visit

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