Cancer is arguably the greatest health challenge of our time. Nearly 40% of us will be diagnosed with it at some point in our lives. In the last 50 years, clinical advances have substantially reduced the mortality rate for people with cancer, but new breakthroughs often require years of trial and error in the lab.
An innovative partnership between The University of Texas at Austin’s Machine Learning Lab, Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, and Dell Medical School aims to speed up those discoveries, saving lives in the process.
UT researchers will integrate two emerging disciplines — computational oncology and machine learning — to transform the future of cancer care. Their algorithmic, mathematical and computational approaches will advance our ability to model and predict cancer and develop new tools that help health care providers make the best diagnoses and decisions.
This interdisciplinary research collaboration is possible because of a $10 million gift from Dheeraj Pandey, MS ’98, and his wife, Swapna. Dheeraj is a graduate of UT’s top-10 Department of Computer Science. “The fellowship that UTCS granted me back in 1997 inspired me to make this gift,” he says. “I flew for the first time in my life when I came to Texas with two suitcases and $900 in my pocket. UTCS gave me everything — a passion for distributed systems, a lab in which I bumped into my wife online, an early career start and an everlasting love for Austin.”
“UT Austin has a unique environment that enables the interdisciplinary research critical to tackling grand challenges like personalized care for cancer patients.”
– Karen Willcox, Director, Oden Institute
“UT Austin has a unique environment that that enables the interdisciplinary research critical to tackling grand challenges like personalized care for cancer patients,” says Karen Willcox, director of the Oden Institute. “We are so thrilled to have this opportunity to build a new partnership with the Machine Learning Lab and our existing partnerships with Dell Med, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Advanced Computing Center. The generosity of the Pandey family is a game changer in taking our efforts to a new level.”
“The biggest promise of computational oncology is personalized medicine — the ability for us to answer questions that save precious lives,” Pandey says. “The field is breaking silos between the physics, biology and computing researchers who are fighting indefatigably against cancer.”
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