MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two researchers in the West Virginia University Department of Biochemistry, Bryan O’Hara, Ph.D., and Vazhaikkurichi M. Rajendran, Ph.D., have received a global health grant for $100,000 to study a new scientific-based therapy to improve nutrition.

The Grand Challenges Explorations grant is part of an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Drs. O’Hara and Rajendran will pursue an innovative global health and development research project titled “Resistant Starch Derivatives to Treat Chronic Diarrhea.”

Over a period of 18 months, the Gates Foundation award will allow O’Hara and Rajendran to continue their investigation of the contributing factors causing disturbances in the colon, commonly in infants, which lead to the appearance of chronic diarrhea. The research is intended to develop basic biological information that can be used in developing clinical-grade compounds that will provide an effective method of treatment of chronic colitis and persistent diarrhea.

O’Hara and Rajendran’s grant is part of a $100-million Gates Foundation initiative. Launched in 2008, more than 600 people in 45 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive an additional grant of up to $1 million.
For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
dc: 06-01-12