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January 16, 2008

CANCER RESEARCHER NAMED APPLE SCIENCE INNOVATOR

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In a press conference this afternoon, University of Louisville officials announced that cancer researcher John O. Trent has been selected a Science Innovator Award winner by Apple Computer, Inc.

Trent joins a distinguished group of scientists from Harvard, Princeton, the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, UCLA and Duke who are being recognized for innovative use of Apple’s technology for scientific research.

Trent, an associate professor of medicine with joint appointments in chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology, leads drug discovery efforts at UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Trent’s team uses advanced computing techniques to identify promising compounds with the potential to become tomorrow’s cancer drugs. The process has been compared to looking for a specific puzzle piece in a box containing 10 million puzzle pieces that look more or less the same.

“That’s why computing power is a make-or-break issue for our drug discovery program,” says Trent.

In an innovative arrangement, Trent and more than a dozen researchers have partnered with Kentucky Dataseam Initiative, a non-profit organization that harnesses unused computing power in more than 50 school districts across the state of Kentucky in a powerful grid. Trent uses this technology to help shuffle through the millions of puzzle pieces that may help identify promising cancer drugs, shortening the time required for from years to days. The program has helped the Brown Cancer Center build a promising drug pipeline for new cancer therapies.

UofL President James Ramsey said, “This collaboration is a superb example of how imagination and insight into the needs of our communities benefits Kentucky, not only in better technology-readiness for our students but also through the discovery of more than a dozen innovative anti-cancer drugs currently in the pipeline at the Brown Cancer Center.”

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