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Monell Center receives $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant
Date:5/4/2009

The Monell Center announced today that it has received a US$100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support an innovative global health research project conducted by Paul A. S. Breslin, PhD, titled "Taste-Guided Behavior on Mosquitoes Helps Eradicate Malaria."

Dr. Breslin's project is one of 81 grants announced by the Gates Foundation in the second funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative to help scientists around the world explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries. The grants were provided to scientists in 17 countries on six continents.

To receive funding, Breslin showed in a two-page application how his idea falls outside current scientific paradigms and might lead to significant advances in global health. The initiative is highly competitive, receiving more than 3,000 proposals in this round.

Breslin's grant focuses on the sense of taste in mosquitoes, with the overall goal of identifying new strategies to reduce transmission of malaria. Taste provides information that regulates whether a substance will be ingested as food or rejected. As such, the final decision of whether or not a mosquito will initiate a meal of human blood depends on how human skin tastes to the mosquito. Currently, little is known about the taste world of mosquitoes. Dr. Breslin proposes that a deeper understanding of mosquito taste will reveal novel approaches to the design of strategies to reduce mosquito-mediated disease transmission. As a first step, the studies funded by the Grand Challenges Explorations grant will assess taste responses of mosquitoes to a range of human skin compounds.

Paul Breslin is a sensory psychobiologist and geneticist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. The Grand Challenges Explorations mosquito project is an extension of his longstanding interests in taste and feeding. Breslin's
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Contact: Leslie Stein
stein@monell.org
267-519-4707
Monell Chemical Senses Center
Source:Eurekalert

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