Prof. Moses M. Obimbo who also serves as the Chairman of the Department of Human Anatomy at the University of Nairobi, was among 14 scientists from eight African countries who will receive up to $ 1 million each over five years for projects ranging from computational drug discovery to molecular epidemiology.
The fellowship is a prestigious program designed to support local scientists who are working towards developing innovations to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and other global health priorities.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which launched the fellowship also announced at the 17th Grand Challenges Annual Meeting that it is committing $50 million towards a new initiative, the Grand Challenges Global Call to Action which is a 10-year initiative that will prioritize grants to scientists from low- and middle-income countries, and support a balanced representation of women principal investigators to build a global health infrastructure where scientific innovation will reach everyone.
Prof. Obimbo's work focuses on vaginal infections and changes in the vaginal environment that result in adverse gynecological and obstetric outcomes such as preterm and stillbirth. Through artificial intelligence-assisted modeling, the work aims at developing an affordable and scalable diagnostic tool that can routinely be used in clinics. Later, he aims at designing treatment targets applying new generation interventions. Winning this grant is the first step. The plan is to immediately embark on the planned work in phases moving forward. He will work with colleagues at the University of Nairobi, locally, regionally, and abroad in getting the relevant aims of the project to succeed. Mentorship will be a key component of this work to inspire a new generation of clinicians and scientists (including those in engineering) interested in innovation and product development.