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NCRC Researchers Receive Gates Funding for New Ideas to Solve Global Challenges

December 03, 2011

NCRC Researchers Receive Gates Funding for New Ideas to Solve Global Challenges

North Carolina State University (NCSU) Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI) and the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI) both recently received $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grants funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people globally lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, the foundation seeks to improve people’s health in order to alleviate hunger and poverty. The Grand Challenges Explorations grants fund new and promising ideas to address global health issues. Started in 2008, the program has awarded 603 grants to researchers in over 40 countries.

Mary Ann Lila, PhD, director of the PHHI, received funding for a projected entitled “cost effective shelf-stable delivery of concentrated phytonutrients and proteins to infants and children using locally-available foods”. The project utilizes technology developed in partnership with Rutgers University that extracts phytochemcials, plant compounds known to boost the immune system and provide other health benefits, from a range of fruits and vegetables. Once extracted, the phytochemicals can be concentrated into a functional food ingredient. The project is partnering with researchers at the University of Zambia in Lusaka where the technology will be applied to local crops and fruits. Elevated levels of malnourishment and health issues in many African countries are linked to limited availability and the high cost of fruits and vegetables. Through the project Lila is specifically targeting pregnant women, infants and young children.

DHMRI’s Steven Maranz, PhD, is also targeting populations in Africa and others globally who are suffering from malnutrition through the Pro-Vitamin A Biosynthesis by Gut Mircobiota project. The scientific premise of the project is the engineering of probiotic bacteria to biosynthesize pro-vitamin A carotenes that are needed for the human body to produce Vitamin A and other nutrients. Yogurt is an economical means by which Maranz proposes to produce and deliver the enhanced microbes.

For the full story on these projects, go to:
NCSU PHHI Receives Grant Challenges Explorations Funding
DHMRI Awarded Gates Foundation Grant Based on Maranz Study

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