Volume 6, Edition 7 – December 2010
ATN in PROFILE
Australia-China NanoNetwork researchers have received a US$100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support an innovative global health research project conducted titled “Nanochip Biosensor for Infectious Diseases and Malaria.”
The research team, lead by Dr Vipul Bansal, Senior Lecturer of Bio-nanotechnology at RMIT University’s School of Applied Sciences, comprises collaborators from RMIT and Southeast University (Nanjing).
The project is a proof-of-concept idea, wherein Dr Bansal has proposed a nano-biotechnology enabled transformational approach to develop a low-cost, ultra-fast, disposable, nanochip biosensor that can be non-invasively used to detect malaria and infectious diseases with ultrahigh selectivity and sensitivity.
“If successful, a battery-powered, non-invasive finger scanner can be developed in the next stage of the project. Such an invention could potentially revolutionize the way infectious diseases are currently diagnosed, particularly in the developing world” said Dr Bansal.
The project is one of 65 grants announced by the Gates Foundation in the fifth funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations, designed to help scientists around the world explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries. It supports ideas that fall outside current scientific paradigms and might lead to significant advances in global health.
The grants were provided to scientists in 16 countries on 5 continents and are highly competitive, receiving more than 2,400 proposals in this round.
“These are bold ideas from innovative thinkers, which is exactly what we need in global health research right now,” said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. “I'm excited to see some of these daring projects develop into life-saving breakthroughs for those who need them the most.”