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UC San Diego Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant For Cutting-edge Research in Global Health

Greg G. Goldgof


  • Debra Kain

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  • Debra Kain

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The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Greg G. Goldgof, a graduate student in UC San Diego’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the Medical Science Training Program will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “Outsmarting Malaria: Developing next generation anti-malarials that prevent the evolution of drug resistance.”

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.  Goldgof’s project is one of over 50 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

To receive funding, Goldgof and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 10 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of four critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, neglected tropical diseases and communications.

Goldgof works in the lab of Elizabeth Winzeler, PhD, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine.  The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant will support Goldgof’s work to use genetically engineered yeast to rapidly evolve resistance to potential anti-malarial therapies, and then sequence the resistant strains' genomes to discover the mechanism for resistance to each drug. The hope is that this information will guide development of the next-generation of drugs that can overcome drug resistance to successfully fight malaria, which kills more than a million men, women and children each year, many of them in underdeveloped countries.

“I am very appreciative that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded my proposal to develop a new technology for drug development to treat malaria,” said Goldgof.  “This information will be used to prioritize drug candidates for clinical trials and to identify new malaria drug targets for future therapies.”

Goldgof will use genetically engineered yeast developed by collaborator Yo Suzuki, PhD, an assistant professor at J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla. 

About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a US $100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Launched in 2008, over 800 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 twice a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US $1 million.

About the Medical Science Training Program at UC San Diego
The MSTP is an inter-institutional collaboration that combines clinical training under the auspices of the UCSD School of Medicine with research training from UC San Diego and other world-renowned research institutions in the San Diego region.  Funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, its graduates earn both MD and PhD degrees.  There are currently 75 students in the MSTP program who are training to become the next generation of physician scientists.  For more information, visit

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