University of Cincinnati scientist Laura Woollett, professor of pathology, (photo courtesy of UC), recently received $100,000 in new life science research funding for investigation into fetal growth rates in developing countries. Woollett's research team will be investigiating the link between maternal cholesterol and fetal growth.
According to Chris Wilson, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation director of Translational Sciences and Global Health Discovery, the program provides grants to research ideas that represent "creative, unorthodox thinking" and aim to address a pressing global problem. Wilson further stated that the program aims to "provide additional funding for select grantees so that they can continue to advance their idea towards global impact.”
As Woolletts initial research data shows increasing promise, she will receive an additional phase two follow up grant from Grand Challenges Explorations resulting in program funding totaling over $1 million.
(Spacefill model of cholesterol Molecule courtesy of Wikimedia)
Woollet is investigating a possible solution to the problem of low birth weight infants which often leads to significant infant mortality rates in developing countries. She will be studying whether maternal cholesterol is beneficial to the fetus during gestation and will be working with Andrew Prentice and Sophie Moore from the MRC International Nutrition Group in Gambia.
Her initial research could lead to the development of nutritional information or supplements that could be given to mothers in developing countries to improve fetal growth rates.
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