City News ServiceThe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday awarded $100,000 grants to San Diego-based research projects on improving sanitation and finding the causes of diseases in babies.
One of the Grand Challenges Explorations grants went to a project by San Diego State University engineering professor Temesgen Garoma, who seeks to reliably and inexpensively treat human waste with algae, generate biogas for energy use and create biosolids to use as fertilizer.
If Garoma is successful and his process is implemented, it could limit the release of untreated or partially treated waste to the environment and reduce contamination of drinking water supplies.
The other grant was awarded to Benjamin Yu of UCSD, who wants to isolate and sequence RNA from babies to determine if changes can be found in those with low birth weight. Any differences could lead to nutritional and environmental factors that result in diseases in newborns.
The foundation awarded a total of 110 grants to various projects. It looks for unorthodox ideas to overcome persistent global health problems.