Manuel Llinás, an associate professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, received a Grand Challenges Explorations Round 9 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to seek more effective malaria drugs. Llinás was among more than 80 recipients of the award, which includes an initial grant of $100,000 with a potential follow-on grant of up to $1 million.
Llinás will work to develop a rapid-screening tool that would characterize the biochemical signature of new classes of anti-malarial drugs formulated in recent years. Using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, Llinás and his research group will identifythe metabolic pathways of the malaria parasite that these drug compounds alter, as well as explore the potential targets of these compounds and define possible mechanisms of drug-resistance. These results could lead to drug combinations that target multiple metabolic pathways and forestall the development of drug-resistant malaria parasites.
Grand Challenges Explorations funds individuals worldwide who are taking innovative approaches to some of the world’s toughest and persistent global health and development challenges."