Public Release: 

Temple University School of Medicine receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant

Grant for groundbreaking research in global health and development

Temple University Health System

(Philadelphia, PA) - Temple University School of Medicine announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Laura Goetzl, MD, MPH, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences; and Vice Chair of Research and Academic Development at Temple University School of Medicine will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled "Maternal Blood Biomarkers to Assess Fetal Neurodevelopment."

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. Dr. Goetzl's project is one of more than 60 Grand Challenges Explorations grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To receive funding, Dr. Goetzl and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas. The foundation is accepting applications for the current GCE round until November 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM PDT.

Dr. Goetzl and her research team, in conjunction with the Shriners Hospitals Center for Neural Repair and Rehabilitation, will be working to develop a non-invasive maternal blood test that will help predict abnormal fetal neurodevelopment and guide and monitor interventions seeking to promote fetal brain health. Specifically, the research team will explore fetal exposure to psychoactive substances such as antidepressants, amphetamines and alcohol and the adverse neurodevelopmental effects of these exposures. The blood test will directly correlate with fetal brain development over the first and second trimester of pregnancy and will test the hypothesis that biomarkers found in maternal blood can be identified that predict healthy fetal brain development.

Board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology & Maternal Fetal Medicine, Dr. Goetzl practices high-risk obstetrics and prenatal diagnosis at Temple University Hospital. She specializes in prenatal diagnosis, chorionic villus sampling, ultrasound and management of high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Goetzl is an NIH-funded researcher with numerous publications and presentations to her credit.

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About Grand Challenges Explorations

Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 1070 projects in more than 60 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 Temple Health

Temple University Health System (TUHS) is a $1.4 billion academic health system dedicated to providing access to quality patient care and supporting excellence in medical education and research. The Health System consists of Temple University Hospital (TUH), ranked among the "Best Hospitals" in the region by U.S. News & World Report; TUH-Episcopal Campus; TUH-Northeastern Campus; Fox Chase Cancer Center, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center; Jeanes Hospital, a community-based hospital offering medical, surgical and emergency services; Temple Transport Team, a ground and air-ambulance company; and Temple Physicians, Inc., a network of community-based specialty and primary-care physician practices. TUHS is affiliated with Temple University School of Medicine.

Temple University School of Medicine (TUSM), established in 1901, is one of the nation's leading medical schools. Each year, the School of Medicine educates approximately 840 medical students and 140 graduate students. Based on its level of funding from the National Institutes of Health, Temple University School of Medicine is the second-highest ranked medical school in Philadelphia and the third-highest in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. According to U.S. News & World Report, TUSM is among the top 10 most applied-to medical schools in the nation.

Temple Health refers to the health, education and research activities carried out by the affiliates of Temple University Health System (TUHS) and by Temple University School of Medicine. TUHS neither provides nor controls the provision of health care. All health care is provided by its member organizations or independent health care providers affiliated with TUHS member organizations. Each TUHS member organization is owned and operated pursuant to its governing documents.

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