Public Release: 

Malaria research at CU Anschutz receives Gates Foundation support

Grand Challenges Explorations grant for groundbreaking research in global health and development

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus


IMAGE: Kathryn Colborn, Ph.D., University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo. view more

Credit: University of Colorado

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Kathryn Colborn, PhD, assistant research professor at the CU School of Medicine and senior investigator with the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project titled "Development of an automated early warning system for malaria transmission using machine learning."

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

To receive funding, Colborn 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 February 2017.

Using data from Mozambique, Colborn, in collaboration with her husband, James, seeks to show how novel statistical models and online tools can change the way people are surveying, predicting and responding to areas of high malaria transmission. It focuses on innovations in malaria elimination analytics, specifically the training of algorithms using supervised learning, an advanced computing task, on demographic health surveys and satellite data. The methods will be disseminated through GitHub, a code repository and version control system, and can be made available for free to anyone in the world.

"Ideally, the malaria analytics tools we develop would be used by Mozambique's Ministry of Health to predict future monthly case rates and to help in their prevention planning," Colborn said.

At CU Anschutz, scientists engage in high-profile studies that contribute new information about the nature and treatment of disease to the rest of the world.


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.

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is the only comprehensive academic health sciences center in Colorado, the largest academic health center in the Rocky Mountain region and one of the newest education, research and patient care facilities in the world. Home to 21,000 employees, more than 4,000 degree-seeking students and two nationally recognized hospitals that handle 1.7 million patient visits each year, CU Anschutz trains the health sciences workforce of the future and fuels the economy. CU Anschutz features schools of medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine and public health, a college of nursing and a graduate school. All interconnected, these organizations collaboratively improve the quality of patient care they deliver, research they conduct, and health professionals they train.

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