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Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Seed Grant: Geometric deep learning to discover RNA-targeting small-molecule drugs

Seed Grants
Awarded in 2020

Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 10 - 2020

Ron Dror, Computer Science
Rhiju Das, Biochemistry

The critical role structured RNA molecules play in many diseases have caused them to become appealing targets for small-molecule drug therapeutics, particularly in cases where conventional protein-targeted drugs have proved unsuccessful. Screening methods to discover RNA-targeting drugs, however, have lagged substantially behind their counterparts in protein-targeted drug discovery, primarily because of our poor ability to computationally predict 3D structures of RNA and use these structures to identify drug candidates. We propose to combine novel geometric deep learning methods and novel experimental methods in order to determine RNA structures and screen for drug candidates targeting these RNA molecules. This project, if successful, will enable the discovery of a broad range of RNA-targeting drugs.