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Drexel Professors Awarded Gates Foundation Grant

December 20, 2010

The innovative work of Dr. Arye Rosen, academy professor of biomedical and electrical engineering, and Dr. Harel Rosen, research associate professor, of Drexel University’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, has been recognized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a $100,000 grant to pursue bold ideas for transforming health in developing countries.

The AMT, Inc. research project, led by Arye and his son Harel, features a low-cost, solar-powered portable blanket that can provide light therapy to jaundiced infants. “We are privileged and honored to have been selected to receive this Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Gates Foundation, and look forward to working toward a common goal – that of ensuring that life-saving health advances reach those who need them most,” Dr. Arye Rosen said.

Grand Challenges Explorations is a five-year, $100 million initiative to promote innovation in global health. The work of the Rosens was among only 65 grants awarded from more than 2,400 applicants.

The Rosens have collaborated for nearly 20 years on the development of medical technologies to benefit infants and children. “With this grant we have an opportunity to develop a technology that can benefit infants worldwide. The new generation blue LED phototherapy blanket represents a ‘green technology,’ and will allow for the treatment of jaundiced infants where no treatment has been previously available,” added Harel Rosen, a neonatologist with Onsite Neonatal Partners, Inc.

Neonatal jaundice is a common problem, but in regions where treatment is unavailable it is associated with a high risk of brain injury or death, according to the Rosens. The blanket, populated with blue LEDs, has the ability to provide effective phototherapy outside the confines of a hospital, and would be operated on a battery source driven by solar energy. Besides its usual utility in a hospital setting, the blanket can be targeted for the treatment of newborns in remote locations in developing countries where grid electricity is scarce or unavailable.

The Rosens hope to have a prototype in a year. AMT, Inc. is a Delaware-based small business that consults and conducts research in the area of therapeutic medicine. Arye Rosen is a researcher for the company and Harel Rosen is a consultant.

“Grand Challenges Explorations is producing innovative ways to tackle ongoing global health challenges like vaccine delivery and caring for mothers and newborns,” said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. “By applying mobile technology and other tools to global health, we hope to produce breakthrough solutions that could save countless lives.”

The Explorations program is part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, which is supported by the Gates Foundation to achieve major breakthroughs in global health. In five rounds of the foundation’s Explorations initiative, 405 researchers representing 34 countries have been awarded grants.

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people -- especially those with the fewest resources -- have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

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News media contact:

Chris Silvestri, Drexel News Bureau

Office: 215-895-2705; Cell: 215-668-0780

Email: csilvestri@drexel.edu

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