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VCU Receives Health Research Grant
October 28, 2009

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) announced recently that it has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The grant will support an innovative global health research project conducted by Luiz Shozo Ozaki, Ph.D., associate professor in VCU Life Sciences’ Center for the Study of Biological Complexity. The project is called Bacterial viruses as tool for blocking transmission of the malaria parasite.

Prof. Ozaki’s project is one of 76 grants announced recently by the Gates Foundation in the third 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.

Prof. Ozaki and Gail Christie, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, will genetically engineer bacterial viruses (phages) to express inhibitors of the malaria parasite in the mosquito gut upon phage infection of gut bacteria, and test the engineered phages as a biological tool for controlling the transmission of the disease.

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