Bioengineer Prakash wins Gates Foundation global health “Explorations” grant

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The $100,000 award goes to develop and field test an ultra-low-cost paper microscope designed for disease diagnostics.

Manu Prakash, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering, was named a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote the exploration of bold and innovative ways to improve global health.

The $100,000 award, announced Nov. 1, will support Prakash and his team in field testing an ultra-low-cost paper microscope designed for disease diagnostics. These lightweight, print-and-fold “Foldscopes” can be shipped in a flat configuration and assembled in minutes. Device testing will be conducted in India, Thailand and Uganda, and will allow user feedback to help refine the design for mass production. If the pilot is successful, Prakash will have the opportunity to apply for a follow-on grant of up to $1 million.

Manu Prakash
Bioengineering Assistant Professor Manu Prakash. Photo: Norbert von der Groeben

To receive funding, Prakash and the more than 80 other winners in this round of the Grand Challenges Explorations demonstrated a creative idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas — which included agriculture development, immunization and communications — in just two pages. Applications for the next round of the grants will be accepted through Nov. 7.

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Last modified Thu, 8 Nov, 2012 at 16:46