[November 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA] – The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationRobert M. Greenberg, Ph.D. will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, “Helminth ABC transporters as targets for combination therapy.”

Penn Vet, Dr. Robert GreenbergGrand 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. Greenberg’s project is one of more than 80 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 11 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

To receive funding, Dr. Greenberg and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 11 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included development of the next generation condom, agriculture development, and neglected tropical diseases. The foundation is accepting applications for the current GCE round until November 12, 2013 11:30 AM PDT.

Parasitic worms such as schistosomes and filarial and soil-transmitted nematodes infect as many as a billion people worldwide and have devastating effects on human health and economic development. Dr. Greenberg and Dr. Bernadette Ardelli of Brandon University in Manitoba will explore ways to enhance the effectiveness of drugs against these infections. They will test whether the potency of current drugs can be enhanced by co-administration of compounds that block protective mechanisms the worms use to transport the drugs out of cells and tissues. This approach could potentially increase drug effectiveness and prevent the emergence of drug resistance.

About Grand Challenges Explorations

Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Launched in 2008, over 850 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 Penn Vet

Penn Vet is a global leader in veterinary medicine education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the only veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health Initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, seeing nearly 33,000 patients a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals, treating 33,000 patients each year – 4,100 in the hospital and 29,000 at farms through the Field Service. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.

For more information, visit www.vet.upenn.edu.