CityU receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant for groundbreaking research in global health and development

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Dr. Carol Lin Sze-ki, Associate Professor in the School of Energy and Environment (SEE) at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has been awarded US$100,000 by Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE), an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for a novel way to cultivate 10 distinct probiotic bacteria simultaneously.

Dr. Lin, an expert on microbial fermentation and bioprocessing, will lead the project in collaboration with Dr Srinivas Mettu from the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Melbourne, with expertise in soft surfaces and hydrogels. The grant will be used to develop a specially designed bioreactor that can accommodate a huge variation in the microbial environment. Mimicking the human gut, the microbial environment enables the growth of multiple strains of probiotic bacteria. The bioreactor can help to manufacture low-cost gut microbial biotherapeutics with a target cost of USD$0.1 per dose consisting of 1 billion bacteria.

GCE supports innovative thinkers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Dr Lin and Dr Mettu’s bold idea is one of 56 GCE Round 22 grants announced by the foundation from approximately 1,700 proposals submitted in the round (i.e. an overall successful rate of 3.3%).

 

Period19 Jun 2019 → 20 Jun 2019

Media coverage

Title城大仿人腸育菌 助研生物製劑
Description腸道菌群是生活在人體消化系統管道內的多種微生物,其多樣性對於消化功能非常重要。一項由城市大學學者領導開展的研究,特別模仿人類腸道設計出「生物反應器」,能促進不同微生物的生長,從而同時培養出10種益生菌。項目期望能以0.1美元的低成本,生產每劑含10億腸道益生菌的生物製劑,應對人類消化健康的需要。

有關創新研究名為「可生物降解、運用徑向梯度原位纖維作為培養基的創新生物反應器」,由城大微生物發酵及生物處理專家、能源及環境學院副教授連思琪領導、澳洲化學工程專家合作進行。
Persons
Media name/outletWen Wei Po
PlaceHong Kong
Media typeWeb
Producer/Author高鈺
Date20/06/19
Linkpaper.wenweipo.com/2019/06/20/ED1906200003.htm
Title城大研水凝膠培養益生菌
Description腸道菌群與健康息息相關,雖然坊間有不少益生菌補充品幫助加強腸道健康,但已有研究發現該些補充品其實只有數種益生菌,無法增加腸道菌群的多樣性,效用成疑。香港城市大學的研究團隊發現可利用一種水凝膠材料同時培養多種益生菌,有望可用低成本生產每劑含十億腸道益生菌的生物製劑。

有關研究由城大能源及環境學院副教授連思琪領導,研究計劃成功贏得比爾及梅琳達‧蓋茨基金會設立的「大挑戰探索計劃」,獲得十萬美元的研究資金。
Persons
Media name/outletOriental Daily
PlaceHong Kong
Media typeWeb
Date20/06/19
Linkhttps://orientaldaily.on.cc/cnt/news/20190620/00176_064.html
TitleCityU receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant for groundbreaking research in global health and development
DescriptionAn environmental scientist at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has been awarded US$100,000 by Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE), an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for a novel way to cultivate 10 distinct probiotic bacteria simultaneously.

Dr Carol Lin Sze-ki, Associate Professor in CityU’s School of Energy and Environment (SEE), an expert on microbial fermentation and bioprocessing, will lead the project in collaboration with Dr Srinivas Mettu from the Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Melbourne, with expertise in soft surfaces and hydrogels.

“To produce low-cost gut microbial biotherapeutics is very challenging” said Dr Lin, adding that gut microbiota across the digestive tract contains a massive amount of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that requires various growth conditions such as different nutrients, gas composition and pH values. As such, these gut microbes are currently cultivated individually and then mixed together to form a biotherapeutic product, which is a complex and costly process. 

However, in the research, titled “Novel Radial Gradient in Fibrous-Bed Bioreactors with Cellulose Hydrogel”, the team will develop such a bioreactor using the intelligent design of immobilisation materials, i.e. the cellulose hydrogel to cultivate the bacteria, with varying degrees of spatial structuring and gradients.
Persons
Media name/outletCityU NewsCentre
PlaceHong Kong
Media typeWeb
Producer/AuthorCathy Choi
Date19/06/19
Linkhttps://newscentre.cityu.edu.hk/media/news/2019/06/19/cityu-receives-grand-challenges-explorations-grant-groundbreaking-research-global-health-and-development