University of Wisconsin nets $9.5 million grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Dec 27, 2009
By staff
Madison, Wis. -- The University of Wisconsin-Madison is the recipient of a 5-year, $9.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will finance studies to identify virus mutations that may serve as early warnings or pandemic influenza viruses.

Virologist Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka will be principal investigator on the project, which will enlist the help on an international team of scientists studying influenza. They will look for mutations in viral proteins that allow avian influenza viruses to bind to human receptors or facilitate efficient replication in human cells.

Identifying mutations could help the research team develop an early warning system that will make it easier to predict the pandemic potential of viruses, according to Kawaoka.