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UNC Project-Malawi Researchers Receive Grand Challenges Explorations Grant

June 28, 2019
School of Medicine

The Lilongwe Medical Relief Fund Trust announced that it has won a Grand Challenges Explorations grant – an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Principal investigator Tisungane Mvalo, research assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “Improving Diagnosis of Sepsis in Young Infants in Africa: Are We Using Antibiotics Appropriately?” The Lilongwe Medical Relief Fund Trust is an independently incorporated non-profit that serves as the service and programs arm of UNC Project-Malawi.

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) supports innovative thinkers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Mvalo’s award is one of approximately 50 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 22 grants announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To receive funding, Mvalo and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of seven critical global heath and development topic areas. The foundation will be accepting applications for the next GCE round in September 2019.

Mvalo and Gerald Tegha, both of UNC Project-Malawi and the Lilongwe Medical Relief Fund Trust, will lead a project to establish metagenomic next generation sequencing at a research laboratory in Malawi to identify pathogens causing infections in young infants to ensure rapid treatment with appropriate therapy and limit unnecessary antibiotic use. Their collaborators include Msandeni Chiume at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi; Pascal Lavoie of the University of British Columbia in Canada; Emily Ciccone, an infectious diseases fellow in the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Medicine; and Jonathan Juliano, associate professor in the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Medicine and member of the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases.

Read more on the School of Medicine’s website.

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