AKU Receives Two Research Grants from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada
News 2012

​AKU Receives Two Research Grants from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada

December 4, 2012

​Department of Paediatrics and Child Health of Aga Khan University has received two grants within the frame work of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. The University will receive funding through two programmes: the Biomarkers of Gut Function and Health (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and the Saving Brains Programme (Grand Challenges Canada).

This initiative was launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to overcome persistent bottlenecks preventing the creation of new and better health solutions for the developing world.

“The goal of the Biomarkers of Gut Function grant programme is to identify and validate biomarkers that can assess intestinal function (absorption of food and preventing bacterial entry) and guide new ways to improve the health and development of children in the developing world,” said Dr Asad Ali, Assistant Professor and the principal investigator of the Biomarkers of Gut Function and Health project.

“The goal of the Saving Brains grant programme is to determine the impact of early interventions delivered in the first 1,000 days of life on long-term human capital to identify effective and affordable interventions that can promote healthy physical and psychosocial development. These data will help us to strengthen the evidence base for early childhood interventions that help children to thrive, do well at school and become economically productive,” said Dr Aisha Yousafzai, Assistant Professor, and the principal investigator of the Saving Brains project.
“Both these grants will further our understanding of how to improve physical and mental growth of children in Pakistan so they can achieve their fullest potential in life”, said Dr Anita Zaidi, Professor and Chair, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Aga Khan University. She also said that the receipt of these grants through international competition is a good recognition of the quality of child health research that is being done by investigators at the Aga Khan University.

“Safeguarding the health of young children is one of the world’s most urgent priorities and a core focus of our work,” said Chris Wilson, Director of Discovery & Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We hope the suite of grants announced today will give us a deeper understanding of the reasons underlying stunted growth in children in the developing world and how this can be predicted to guide new approaches to improve the health and development of these children.”

About the Grand Challenges
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recognizes that solving our greatest global health and development issues is a long-term effort. Through Grand Challenges, the foundation along with other Grand Challenge partners such as USAID , Grand Challenges Canada, and Brazil’s Ministry of Health, are committed to seeking out and rewarding not only established researchers in science and technology, but also young investigators, entrepreneurs and innovators to help expand the pipeline of ideas to fight diseases that claim millions of lives each year.

About Aga Khan University
Chartered in 1983, the Aga Khan University is a private, autonomous university that promotes human welfare through research, teaching and community service initiatives. Based on the principles of quality, access, impact and relevance, the University has campuses and programmes in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa and facilities that include teaching hospitals, Faculties of Health Sciences including a School of Nursing and Midwifery and a Medical College, Institutes for Educational Development, an Examination Board and an Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. Through its needs-blind admissions policy, the University imbues promising leaders and thinkers of tomorrow with an ethic of service and the skills to help communities solve their most pressing challenges.