Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges, October 2013
Curt Van Tassel and Tad Sonstegard, of the ARS Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory, were invited to attend the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 27-30, 2013. In addition to the Gates Foundation, the meeting was co-hosted by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Grand Challenges Canada, and US Agency for International Development (USAID). Drs. Van Tassel and Sonstegard are lead researchers on an ARS-USAID Feed the Future project, which is one of several administered through the ARS Office of International Research Programs (OIRP). Their project, The Livestock Improvement Program, involves a large multi-international partnership of African and other researchers to improve understanding, capacity, and access to African goat genetic resources and data, and ultimately improve food security with development of on-farm breeding programs and guidelines for genomic conservation and improvement. The challenge and opportunity are great, as the goat already feeds more people globally than any other livestock resource (meat and milk). The Grand Challenges Brazil agenda includes 8 scientific tracks incorporating sustainable innovation and country-specific examples, including livestock genomics. The meeting aimed to build momentum for global health innovation and foster scientific collaboration among international groups and researchers.