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New York Blood Center's Research Institute Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant For Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development

NEW YORK, May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute of the New York Blood Center announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Dr. Sara Lustigman , Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled Innovative 3-D in vitro culturing system for filarial worms.  These worms are needed to screen drugs to help eliminate onchocerciasis (river blindness) in Africa.

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. Lustigman's project is one of more than 50 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

To receive funding, Dr. Lustigman and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of four critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, neglected tropical diseases and communications. Applications for the next Round will be accepted starting September 2013. 

Dr. Lustigman, in collaboration with Miguel Suderman of Cell Systems 3-D, LLC, and Dr. Judy Sakanari of the Center for Discovery in Parasitic Diseases, Univ. of Calif., San Francisco will develop 3-Dimensional in vitro culturing systems to support the development of Onchocerca volvulus and Brugia malayi infective larvae to the adult stages. This will provide greater numbers of adult worms for high throughput screening for macrofilaricidal (that kill adult worms) drugs, which are needed to support the elimination of onchocerciasis in Africa.

About Grand Challenges Explorations

Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Launched in 2008, over 800 people in more than 50 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 Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute

Since 1964, LFKRI has led the way in blood research, breaking new ground in transfusion medicine and disease treatment and prevention. The institute is committed to furthering research efforts that support the discovery of new blood-related products, techniques, and therapies. LFKRI's work has dramatically impacted global health, improved blood banking, nurtured a generation of scientists, and added significantly to the world's store of biomedical knowledge. From the beginning, LFKRI has supported basic research to understand blood and disease at the molecular level as well as translational research that transforms the findings into major breakthroughs. With 17 state-of-the-art laboratories and close to 100 researchers, LFKRI brings world-class research to life every day. For further information, visit

About New York Blood Center

New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. For almost 50 years, NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine. Please visit us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter: @NY_BloodCenter.

SOURCE New York Blood Center
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