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Kavraki gets CPRIT grant for cancer research

December 5, 2016

2016-12-05-LydiaKavraki-CPRIT Lydia E. Kavraki, the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and professor of bioengineering at Rice University, has received a $900,000 grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).

Kavraki's proposal is titled "Structural modeling of peptide-HLA complexes presenting a melanoma-associated antigen for cross-reactivity assessment." The project will focus on using algorithmic approaches to identify cross-reactivity hot spots in the context of specific T-cell lines.

Such information can be used to guide large-scale screenings and help uncover unrelated proteins that could be mistakenly targeted by therapeutic T-cells. Her grant was given in the Individual Investigator Research Awards for Prevention and Early Detection category.

This project continues a long line of research established by Kavraki on developing the theory and implementation of physical algorithms in computer science. The main applications of her work have been in robotics, computational structural biology and bioinformatics.

CPRIT this year awarded 48 new grants totaling more than $93 million. Forty-six grants were made through CPRIT's academic research program, and two were made through its product development research program. 

CPRIT has funded 1,114 awards for cancer research, product development, and prevention since 2010. The total amount awarded is $1,761,031,997. The full list of CPRIT grant awards is available at http://www.cprit.state.tx.us/funded-grants/. 

Texas voters in 2007 approved a constitutional amendment establishing CPRIT and authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund cancer research and prevention programs and services.  

-Patrick Kurp, Engineering Communications