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Understanding Mechanisms and Identifying Biomarkers for the Relationship Between Aflatoxin Exposure and Child Stunting

Yun Yun Gong of Queen’s University Belfast in the United Kingdom and colleagues will identify mechanistic biomarkers of child stunting caused by the dietary contaminant aflatoxin, which is common in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. They will determine the mechanism by which aflatoxin inhibits growth in early life using blood samples and growth charts from 300 children in Gambia and analyzing the relationship between aflatoxin exposure and changes in insulin-like growth factor signaling, epigenetic marks, and gene expression. Candidate biomarkers will be validated in an in vitro cell model of human liver, which is the primary target of aflatoxin, and used to drive future intervention strategies, such as hand-sorting food to reduce contamination, for ultimately improving child health.

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.