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27 May 2016

Prof Stephen Rogerson Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant

University of Melbourne Professor Stephen Rogerson, Head of the Malaria Pathogenesis and Immunity Laboratory at the Doherty Institute, has been awarded a Grand Challenges Explorations Grant, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled Ultra-Sensitive Non-Invasive PoC Immunosensor for Malaria.

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mould in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Professor Rogerson’s project is one of more than 40 Grand Challenges Explorations grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  

Professor Rogerson is working with University of Melbourne colleagues Professor Stan Skafidas, Professor Patrick Kwan and PhD student Gita Vita Soraya, to develop a non-invasive malaria diagnostic that will detect malaria proteins with 1000 times more sensitivity than current rapid diagnostic tests, fulfilling diagnostic gaps required for malaria elimination.

Professor Skafidas, from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and his team have developed electronic sensors to detect the binding of non-malaria proteins to antibodies coated on chips.

“If we can adapt this technology to malaria protein detection, it will be a significant increase in sensitivity,” Professor Rogerson said.

“We plan to develop saliva and urine tests that would replace current finger-prick rapid diagnostics and time-consuming blood microscopy testing, making them much more acceptable for whole-community malaria screening and treatment programs. This is truly a convergence of research disciplines to solve global health challenges.”