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VT Researchers Win $100K Nvidia Award to Create Cancer Mutation Identification Platform


Two researchers from Virginia Tech have won an award from the Nvidia Foundation to create a genome analysis platform that will make it easier for researchers to identify cancer mutations.

The researchers, Wu Feng and David Mittelman, will use GPU-accelerated alignment and mapping software in combination with sensitive mutation detection methods to deliver "an optimized and powerful solution" for cancer genome analysis that other investigators can build upon.

Nvidia gave the award as part of its "Compute the Cure" program, a pilot effort overseen by its philanthropic arm, the Nvidia Foundation, that aims to leverage GPUs to support cancer researchers in the search for a cure, as well as to promote cancer awareness and prevention initiatives.

Feng, an associate professor in VT's Computer Science department, said in a statement that the program aims to "revolutionize" the way that cancer research is done by providing "a framework and toolkit of personal desktop supercomputing solutions for the analysis of genome changes from next-generation sequencing data, as a first step toward seeking a cure for cancer.”

Separately, Feng is also part of a research team funded by the National Science Foundation to develop tools for Microsoft's Azure cloud as part of an agreement between NSF and Microsoft.