Chopra and Cooks NCATS ASPIRE Challenges
After several years of consistently being the top performer, a team of scientists including Dr. Gaurav Chopra and Dr. Graham Cooks, both of Purdue University’s College of Science, won the grand prize in a special competition called A Specialized Platform for Innovative Research Exploration (ASPIRE) held by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). (NCATS) is one of 27 Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The grand prize winning project is called Iterative Learning and Automated Modular Platform for Optimum Nonaddictive Analgesic Discovery, which used an Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning automation platform for drug discovery.
The NCATS ASPIRE challenges are part of the of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative to speed scientific solutions to the national opioid public health crisis. The overall goal of the NCATS ASPIRE Challenges is to reward and spur innovative and catalytic approaches towards solving the opioid crisis through development of:
- Novel chemistries
- Data-mining and analysis tools and technologies
- Biological assays that will revolutionize discovery, development and pre-clinical testing of next generation of safer and non-addictive analgesics to treat pain, as well as new treatments for opioid use disorder and overdose