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December 4, 2012

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Receives Funding for Gut Function Biomarker Research

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health announced today that it will receive funding through the Biomarkers of Gut Function and Health program within the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. 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. A team of investigators including Margaret Kosek (Assistant Professor, Global Disease Epidemiology and Control), Laura Caulfield (Professor, Human Nutrition), Larry Moulton (Professor, Global Disease Epidemiology and Control and Biostatistics) and Jay Bream (Associate Professor, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology) will continue to pursue a research project entitled  “Improved Biomarkers for the Evaluation of Environmental Enteropathy.”

“Our team of researchers looks forward to the ability to continue our ongoing research activities in the Peruvian Amazon (Iquitos, Peru) to elucidate useful biomarkers that can be used to optimize nutritional interventions, water and sanitation investments, behavioral interventions, or more indirect social and economic interventions such as cash transfer programs to lessen the impact of enteric infections and malnutrition on child health.  The impacts of frequent enteric infection and environmental enteropathy have been underappreciated but likely exert large-scale durable adverse effects on human health and potential in individuals and populations living in poverty. Identifying biomarkers of subclinical intestinal injury in at-risk populations in infancy and early childhood that are clearly linked with the subsequent development of well-defined adverse health outcomes are greatly needed tools with which to optimize interventions to support the growth and development in children living in poverty “ stated Margaret Kosek, the Principal Investigator.

The goal of the Biomarkers of Gut Function grant program is to identify and validate biomarkers that can assess gut function and guide new ways to improve the health and development of children in the developing world.    
Margaret Kosek’s project is one of seven grants announced today. 

“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 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

As a leading international authority on public health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is dedicated to protecting health and saving lives. Every day, the Bloomberg School works to keep millions safe from illness and injury by pioneering new research, deploying its knowledge and expertise in the field, and educating tomorrow's scientists and practitioners in the global defense of human life. Founded in 1916 as part of the Johns Hopkins University, the Bloomberg School of Public Health is the world’s oldest and largest independent school of public health.

Media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.