Temple University School of Medicine Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development

Temple University School of Medicine Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development

(Philadelphia, PA) – Temple University School of Medicine announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Laura Goetzl, MD, MPH, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences; and Vice Chair of Research and Academic Development at Temple University School of Medicine will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “Maternal Blood Biomarkers to Assess Fetal Neurodevelopment.”

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Dr. Goetzl’s project is one of more than 60 Grand Challenges Explorations grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To receive funding, Dr. Goetzl and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas. The foundation is accepting applications for the current GCE round until November 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM PDT.

Dr. Goetzl and her research team, in conjunction with the Shriners Hospitals Center for Neural Repair and Rehabilitation, will be working to develop a non-invasive maternal blood test that will help predict abnormal fetal neurodevelopment and guide and monitor interventions seeking to promote fetal brain health. Specifically, the research team will explore fetal exposure to psychoactive substances such as antidepressants, amphetamines and alcohol and the adverse neurodevelopmental effects of these exposures. The blood test will directly correlate with fetal brain development over the first and second trimester of pregnancy and will test the hypothesis that biomarkers found in maternal blood can be identified that predict healthy fetal brain development.

Board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology & Maternal Fetal Medicine, Dr. Goetzl practices high-risk obstetrics and prenatal diagnosis at Temple University Hospital. She specializes in prenatal diagnosis, chorionic villus sampling, ultrasound and management of high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Goetzl is an NIH-funded researcher with numerous publications and presentations to her credit.