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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Gates Foundation gives $500,000

Published: February 17, 2012
Section: News

Donald Shepard, a professor at the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy at the Heller School, has been awarded a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to pursue research on malaria prevention in Kenya and Tanzania.

According to an article on BrandeisNOW, the professor and his collaborators will receive $500,000 during the course of the next three years as they attempt to develop a new wallpaper-like liner that—thanks to advanced design and insecticide-treatment—could prevent as many as 300,000 of the 800,000 deaths that occur annually from malaria in Africa.

Shepard explains in the BrandeisNOW article that “Malaria is one of the biggest killers in the world,” but world response and reaction to the disease and its consequences are far behind. “We’ve known how to treat it, but it’s only been in recent years that prevention strategies have been implemented in a larger scale.”

Shepard’s research on this new wallpaper-like liner serves as an evolution of the conventional mosquito net, which currently serves as the most widely accepted and implemented method for malaria prevention worldwide.

He describes this innovation as a “very important tool that can overcome some of the limitations in existing technology and make a very substantial contribution.”

The most recent results of research conducted in Kenya show a 38 percent dip in malaria rates with the implementation of Shepard’s new technology.

The research team is comprised of Elizabeth Glaser, a doctoral student at Heller, Sareh Khoshi M.S. ’10 and Aggrey Kihombo PhD ’04. Together, their continued research will pursue a more comprehensive understanding of how this technology will impact the area of its implementation, Shepard and his team will be conducting additional research in local school systems during a two-week trip to Africa in mid-February.