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22 May 2013

The Chinese University of Hong Kong Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for Innovative Global Health and Development Research

22 May 2013

Prof. Michael K. Chan

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) announced today that it will receive a US$100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for an innovative global health and development research project entitled ‘Novel dawadawa therapy for intestinal helminthic infections’ conducted by Prof. Michael K. Chan, Director of School of Life Sciences. 

Prof. Michael Chan and his collaborator, Dr. Manoj Nair of The Ohio State University in the United States plan to engineer a new formulation of dawadawa, a staple food in western Africa, which can be used to treat and prevent infections by soil-transmitted nematodes. Since dawadawa is a staple food already, there is great potential that it can be delivered efficiently and at low cost to the high risk population. 

‘We are extremely enthusiastic about receiving this grant as it will allow us to explore whether the novel technologies we are developing can be used to treat infectious disease,’ said Professor Chan. 

Professor Chan’s project is one of 58 grant-receiving projects announced by the Gates Foundation in the first funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative to help scientists around the world explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries.

Professor Chan is the third CUHK scientist receiving a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges. Prof. Samuel Sai-ming Sun, Emeritus Professor, School of Life Sciences and Research Professor of Biology; and Prof. Yangchao Chen, Assistant Professor at the School of Biomedical Sciences are the other two CUHK academics who have previously received funding from the Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health Program. 

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 two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million. 

Applications for the next round of Grand Challenges Explorations will be accepted starting September 2013.  For details, please visit the Grand Challenges Explorations website at

Prof. Michael K. Chan

Prof. Michael K. Chan



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