Researcher to discuss CWRU’s role in combating malaria at TEDxCLE

When Brian Grimberg speaks at TEDxCLE April 20, it will be his first time attending the annual event—but not for lack of trying. “They kept selling out so quickly, and this year was no different,” he noted. “They doubled the seating capacity for this year’s event, but it still sold out in 39 minutes. I am just glad that I get a seat.”

His seat will be on stage, as he presents “Buzzkill: How Malaria Has, and Is, Changing The World We Live In.”

Grimberg, an assistant professor of international health, is one of four Case Western Reserve University community members selected to present at TEDxCLE, which will be held at the Cleveland Museum of Art. TEDxCLE, now in its third year, is an independently organized TED event in which speakers and community members combine to spark discussion and bring Cleveland’s “innovation, development and positive change to the world,” according to the event’s website,

This year’s theme is “The Maker Class,” so speakers are knowledge-based professionals, including those working in healthcare, business, law and education, Grimberg explained. “Unlike the ‘creative class,’ which thinks of solutions, those in the ‘maker class’ actually make solutions to problems,” he said. “This is something that Cleveland is particularly good at, whether it is medical devices or new drug discovery.”

In his talk, Grimberg will discuss the history of malaria, the impact of malaria across the globe and, especially, what members of the Case Western Reserve University community are doing about it.

“The ultimate focus will be how we can solve great problems through collaborations and by combining the intellect and resources of the different schools and departments here at Case Western Reserve and from Northeast Ohio,” Grimberg said. The university is home to one of just 10 malaria research centers in the world, the International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, named the School of Medicine as the lead institution of the center in 2010.

Grimberg hopes to use his position at the TEDxCLE event to shine a light on the still-prevalent—and still-deadly—disease. More than 3.5 billion people are exposed to malaria each year, and more than 1 million children die from the disease each year. During the course of his 15-minute talk, 34 children will die of the disease, he said. (The United Nations, with whom Grimberg works for the initiative, will donate T-shirts for the event to represent this statistic.)

He also wants people to understand the university’s prominence in malaria and tropical medicine research—and the power of the Case Western Reserve and Cleveland communities.

“It is amazing how much this city excels in both the arts and sciences,” he said. “It feels like sometimes we become so focused on the weather or the trials of our sports teams that we let it define the city’s sense of self, and we miss how awesome the city and its citizens are.”

For more information on the TEDxCLE event, visit