Kenny Slaught – Endorses UCSB’s Winning Case of Public Health Research at the Grand Challenges Explorations Grant Program

Kenny Slaught notes that Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how the humanity approaches persistent global health and development challenges.

Established expert in housing market and faithful philanthropist, Kenny Slaught advocates for scientific research development and technological advancement to enhance global health treatment methods in response to urgent international development calls in a timely and most effective manner. Having earned a degree in business and economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Slaught has served on the UCSB Foundation Board of Trustees since 1996. The prominent real estate developer has recently praised the University on his blog at KennySlaught.com, as the notable institution was announced the Grand Challenges Explorations grant winner last year in May.

David Low, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project titled “Strategy for development of enteric pathogen-specific phage”. Low’s research focuses on a new way to deal with serious bacterial pathogens that are becoming resistant to many once-powerful antibiotics. He will engineer phage to selectively target and destroy several pathogenic bacteria to prevent enteric diseases in infants. They will engineer different versions of the T2 lytic bacteriophage that bind multiple different regions of the BamA protein found on the surface of several pathogenic bacteria, which will ensure they only infect these target bacteria. They will test the different phage for capacity to kill pathogenic E. coli and Shigella, and whether they cause resistance.

Kenny Slaught notes that Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how the humanity approaches persistent global health and development challenges. GCE is a $100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was launched in 2008. More than 1,186 projects in over 61 countries have received GCE grants. Anyone from any organization can apply for the GCE grant program. There is a short two-page online application and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. A successful project has the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to $1 million.

“These grants are meant to spur on new discoveries that could ultimately save millions of lives,” said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “GCE winners are expanding the pipeline of ideas for serious global health and development challenges where creative thinking is most urgently needed.” Where human lives are concerned, Slaught is convinced medical research and practice need expanding horizons for timely and holistic global health interventions.

Founder of Investec Real Estate Companies, Kenny Slaught has been in the industry for more than four decades. A dedicated investment strategist, he manages more than 3 million square feet of property throughout California. With total transactions valued above $1.2 billion, Investec has grown to become one of Santa Barbara’s leading real estate firms. An avid philanthropist, Mr. Slaught is involved with many non-profit and community organizations, including Hospice of Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West. Contributing to the benefit of youth in the area, he dedicates considerable time to these and other worthy causes.


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