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       Send story and noteworthy ideas to Jessica Reyes, jmreyes@widener.edu.

      Point of Pride

      Engineering Professor Receives Artificial Intelligence Award

      Dr. Sachin Patil

      Patil, the associate dean of the School of Engineering, is one of 10 recipients of the first Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen Awards.

      Sachin Patil, associate dean of the School of Engineering and associate professor of chemical engineering at Widener University, was named one of 10 recipients of the first Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen (AIMS) Awards.

      Atomwise launched the Artificial Intelligence for Drug Discovery program in the summer as a way to collaborate on various innovative projects and broaden the pool of scientists pursuing drug discovery. To advance this goal, Atomwise awarded researchers with a customized virtual screen using cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, free chemical compounds for physical screening, and technical support.

      The award supports Patil’s cancer research targeting the PD-1 protein, which is a natural break on the immune cells that cancer cells used to avoid their destruction.

      “Targeting this protein escape mechanism represents a fundamentally novel therapeutic approach for selective activation of the innate immune system for treating variety of cancers,” Patil said. “The support of Atomwise will allow us to discover any PD-1 inhibitors that may offer several advantages over currently approved immunotherapies that are primarily antibody-based.”

      Through this award, Patil will receive customized small molecule virtual screening through Atomwise's AtomNet technology, 72 physical samples of small molecules predicted to bind to his specific target protein, support from medicinal chemists and computational biologists, and additional small molecules and support contingent on progress.

      “Being one of the first 10 awardees of this globally competitive program is a significant achievement,” Patil said. “This award further validates the research approach against this challenging therapeutic target that me and my research group, which includes eight chemical engineering and computer science students, have been working on.”

      Researchers at universities and non-profit research institutes often have support for basic research and clinical research, but there is little funding and many barriers for the intermediate stages of drug discovery and development. In response, the AIMS Awards were created to harness AI technology to facilitate and encourage drug discovery for all scientists.

      For more, read the full news release.


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