Purushottam Dixit, Assistant Professor at UF Physics, has received the highly prestigious Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award, which grants $1.82 million over five years (2021-2026), will support Dr. Dixit’s work on developing machine learning methods to understand the biochemical origins of heterogeneity in cellular signaling networks.
Signaling networks are chemical reaction networks among cellular biomolecules (proteins, RNAs, etc.) that allow cells to interpret extracellular cues and make crucial intracellular decisions. A common feature of all signaling networks is the vast cell-to-cell differences in network responses to the same environmental cues. The variability has important biological consequences, for example, resistance to chemotherapy arises at least partially due to variability in signaling. Therefore, identifying the biochemical processes that govern the variable response can help us in exploiting it for applications ranging from cancer therapy to tissue engineering. Dr. Dixit and his lab will develop novel AI methods to tackle this problem.
The NIH’s ESI MIRA program supports young investigator’s broad research program through a single grant rather than individual research project-based grants. The goal of the program is to provide early-stage investigators with stability and flexibility, enhancing their scientific productivity.