The University of Connecticut has announced that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Professors Leslie M. Shor (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering) and Daniel J. Gage (Molecular & Cell Biology) will pursue an innovative global health and development research project intended to increase crop yields in developing countries through the expanded use of beneficial bacteria.
“It’s an honor to have our project chosen by the Gates Foundation,” says Shor, an assistant professor affiliated with UConn’s Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering. “But the most exciting part is knowing that our work could make a difference in the world. That’s why I became an engineer in the first place.”
“I am excited about the opportunity the Gates Grand Challenges Explorations grant gives us,” says Gage, an associate professor in UConn’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “It will let us see if what we have learned when doing very fundamental microbiology and plant research can lead to new and practical tools for farmers around the world.”
Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide who are taking innovative approaches to some of the world’s toughest and persistent global health and development challenges. GCE invests in the early stages of bold ideas that have real potential to solve the problems people in the developing world face every day.
Shor’s and Gage’s project, entitled “Structuring the Rhizosphere: Using Protozoa to Sow Bacteria,” is one of over 80 Grand Challenges Explorations grants recently announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.