Indian scientist wins US$100,000 Gates Foundation Grant

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Lakshminarayanan Ragupathy, of HLL Lifecare Limited, has won the The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded Grand Challenges Explorations grant of US$100,000.

Grand Challenges Explorations fosters creative projects that show great promise to improve the health of people in the developing world. Initial grants of US$100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.

On June 3, 2014, 52 researchers were awarded new Grand Challenges Explorations grants. Mr. Ragupathy is one of those select few.

Lakshminarayanan Ragupathy of HLL Lifecare Limited in India will make a male condom from the biodegradable polymer poly(glycerol sebacate) as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional condoms with improved performance.

In contrast to currently used condoms, poly(glycerol sebacate) may be compatible with oil-based lubricants, and can be more easily combined with other materials, such as anti-viral drugs, contraceptives and vasodilators, to enhance safety and user experience. Poly(glycerol sebacate) is also completely biodegradable, transparent, odorless, and the raw materials are renewable. They will modify some of the mechanical properties of poly(glycerol sebacate), such as tensile strength, to make it more suitable as condom material and to reduce thickness, thereby increasing sensitivity during use. Once the ideal material has been identified, they will produce the condom and evaluate it for safety and biocompatibility.

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