Public Release: 

PSU receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant

Portland State receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant from Gates Foundation for groundbreaking research in global health and development

Portland State University


IMAGE: PSU Biology Professor Ken Stedman conducts research. view more

Credit: Portland State University

Portland State University announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

With an initial $100,000 grant, PSU Biology Professor Ken Stedman will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled "Point of Collection Silica-Coating and Preservation of Stool" to adapt the technique he developed for stabilization of vaccines for use in stool samples.

Stedman will apply a silica coating to stabilize stool samples that can then be transported to central locations for analysis for intestinal parasites. As with vaccines, stool stabilization is a considerable challenge for diagnosis, as stool samples break down quickly and parasites develop during transport. The process Stedman's lab developed for vaccines could be a promising development for local public health workers seeking cost effective stabilization methods that can lead to a more accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

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. Stedman's project is one of 55 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 17 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To receive funding, Stedman and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of six critical global heath and development topic areas. The foundation will be accepting applications for the next GCE round in March 2017.

Stedman is the founding member of the PSU's Center for Life in Extreme Environments. He has authored or co-authored over 60 scientific publications. In addition to funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, his research has been supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Science Foundation, NASA and American Heart Association.

His current research focuses on viruses that infect extremophilic microbes, unique emerging virus genomes, and applications of his research to vaccine stabilization, particularly for the developing world. He founded StoneStable, Inc. to commercialize the vaccine stabilization technology.


About Grand Challenges Explorations

Grand Challenges Explorations is a US $100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 1228 projects in more than 65 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 Portland State University (PSU)

As Oregon's only urban public research university, Portland State offers tremendous opportunity to 29,000 students from all backgrounds. Our mission to "let knowledge serve the city" reflects our dedication to finding creative, sustainable solutions to local and global problems. Our location in the heart of Portland, one of America's most dynamic cities, gives our students unmatched access to career connections and an internationally acclaimed culture scene. U.S. News & World Report ranks us among the nation's top 10 most innovative universities.

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