Biology alumnus Andrew Serazin, who was the University’s fourteenth Rhodes Scholar, was the guest speaker at the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series for the Department of Biological Sciences on March 25. As a Program Officer for the Gates Foundation, Serazin spoke on “Innovation in Science and Technology: A critical path to addressing global health inequities.”
To an audience of faculty, post docs, graduate and undergraduate students, Serazin shared how the Gates Foundation is creating new incentives for researchers. A few of the topics that the Foundation supports includes improving childhood vaccines, creating new vaccines, creating new ways to protect against infectious disease, and creating drugs with limited resistance to mass distribution. The Foundation is also interested in the development of non-vaccine drugs as well as improving nutrition and health to decrease the number of deaths attributed to malnutrition in developing countries.
Serazin explained the GRAND Challenges in Global Health in which 1500 ideas were boiled down to just 14 grand challenges serving 7 goals. GRAND Challenges provides $100 million in funding over 5 years. Initial grants are $100,000, followed by $1 million or more for promising research.
As an undergraduate student at Notre Dame, Serazin conducted research on malaria vectors with Nora Besansky, professor of biological sciences, who was the host for the lecture. After graduating from Notre Dame in 2003, Serazin earned a Ph.D. in medical sciences at Oxford University in 2006.