• About
  • Partnerships
  • Challenges
  • Awards
  • Grant Opportunities
  • News


Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact. Individual challenges address some of the same problems, but from differing perspectives.


Showing page 1 out of 3 with 10 results per page.

Challenges: Synthetic Biology
Show Descriptions
Results per page

Synthetic Signals to Eliminate Essential Plasmodium Proteins

Andreas Matouschek, The University of Texas at Austin (Austin, Texas, United States)
Apr 26, 2012

Andreas Matouschek and Keith Tyo of Northwestern University in the U.S. will develop synthetic compounds that target essential proteins in the Plasmodium parasite for destruction by its own protein degradation mechanisms. This strategy could aid new small molecule drug development efforts to combat malaria.

Development of a Microorganism to Produce Artemisinin

Jay Keasling, Zagaya (Emeryville, California, United States)
Apr 17, 2012

Jay Keasling of Zagaya in the U.S. will explore the production by an endophytic fungus of artemisinin, a key ingredient in malaria treatments. If the fungus produces artemisinin in the absence of light, an enzymatic mechanism is likely involved. This mechanism could be harnessed for a new production method to reduce treatment costs for malaria patients in developing countries.

Discovering New Anti-Microbial Peptides Against Mycobacteria

Erdogan Gulari, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States)
Apr 13, 2012

Erdogan Gulari of the University of Michigan in the U.S proposes to design and produce a large library of antimicrobial peptides (AMPS) that will be tested against Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains to identify potential new drugs that can damage the bacterial membrane and be less susceptible to evasion by the development of resistance.

Protein-Based Low-Cost Metabolite Biosensors For Pneumonia

Andriy Kovalenko, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
Apr 13, 2012

Andriy Kovalenko, Nikolay Blinov and David Wishart of the University of Alberta in Canada propose to use synthetic biology to develop protein-based metabolite biosensors. These biosensors will be used to create a simple, low-cost diagnostic test for pneumonia that is based on specific metabolite signatures found in urine.

Transcription Factor Screening for P. falciparum Therapy

David Segal, University of California, Davis (Davis, California, United States)
Apr 11, 2012

David Segal of the University of California, Davis in the U.S. will develop a high-throughput screen to search for artificial transcription factors (ATF) that are candidates to treat P. falciparum infections. ATFs could be a gene-regulating drug resource for the study and treatment of malaria.

Nature-Inspired Nanoswitches For HIV Antibodies Detection

Francesco Ricci, University of Rome, Tor Vergata (Rome, Italy)
Apr 3, 2012

Francesco Ricci of the University of Rome, Tor Vergata in Italy and collaborator Alexis Vallee-Belisle of the University of California, Santa Barbara propose to develop molecular nanoswitches that provide a visual cue when they bind to HIV antibodies for use in a rapid (one minute) diagnostic test to detect and quantify HIV antibodies in serum samples.

Yeast Receptors for a Generic Biomarker Detection Platform

Keith Tyo, Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois, United States)
Apr 3, 2012

Keith Tyo and Josh Leonard of Northwestern University in the U.S. will work to engineer yeast-based biosensors that identify protein biomarkers in samples like blood and urine. An array of yeast strains could serve as a low-cost, in-home device providing patients with a panel of diagnostics to improve treatment and diagnosis in resource-poor settings.

A Predictive Model for Vaccine Testing Based on Aptamers

Alexander Douglas, Jenner Institute (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Apr 2, 2012

Alexander Douglas of the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford in the United Kingdom will use synthetic nucleic acid molecules known as aptamers to develop a model that can be used to predict the success or failure of new vaccines in clinical trials. This work could help to remove some of the uncertainty in the early-stage development of new vaccines.

A Synthetic Biosensor to Find Drugs Targeting TB Persistence

Robert Abramovitch, Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan, United States)
Apr 2, 2012

Robert Abramovitch of Michigan State University in the U.S. will use their high-throughput drug discovery platform to identify new drugs for treating chronic tuberculosis and for potentially shortening the current treatment time of six to nine months. Their platform exploits a genetic region known as the DosR regulon thought to underlie the behavior of the causative bacteria in humans under low oxygen conditions, when they become dormant and thereby resistant to current drugs. In Phase I, they screened over 250,000 compounds and identified around 170 candidates that could either stop bacterial persistence under low oxygen conditions or could potently inhibit bacterial growth. In Phase II they will optimize one of the candidate DosR regulon inhibitors and test the ability of this class to block chronic infection, as well as characterizing the compounds that inhibit bacterial growth.

Show Descriptions
Results per page

Great ideas come from everywhere.

Sign up for email updates of the latest grant opportunities and awards.

View the Grand Challenges partnership network

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.