Six students in the UT Austin Department of Biomedical Engineering are among dozens of others pedaling to Anchorage on a mission to raise awareness and money for the fight against cancer.

The annual event, known as the Texas 4000 For Cancer, is the longest charity bicycling event in the world. It was co-founded by Chris Condit, a UT Department of Biomedical Engineering alum and cancer survivor.

There are 76 riders this year who left Austin on May 25 and aim to arrive in Anchorage on August 2. The riders picked from various routes that take them across either the Rockies, Ozarks or Sierras.

Meet Our Department’s Riders


Cara Charpentier

Cara Charpentier

Route: Sierra
School Year: Senior

Cara is a biomedical engineering and Plan II Honors student. She hopes to utilize her technical engineering skills within health care. Her goal after graduation is to work in clinical settings as a medical device specialist to assist physicians and patients with the use of life-saving medical technologies. In her spare time, Cara enjoys paddle boarding, reading memoirs, playing with dogs and dressing like it’s the ‘70s.





Ilaria Cielo 2

Ilaria Cielo

Route: Sierra
School Year: Junior

Ilaria is a third-year biomedical engineering student pursuing a track in cellular and biomolecular engineering with an emphasis on regenerative medicine. After finishing her degree, she plans on working toward a Ph.D. in molecular biology for pancreatic cancer related research. Outside of school, she enjoys practicing martial arts with the Texas Taekwondo team.







Maanas Gupta web

Maanas Gupta

Route: Rockies
School Year: Junior
Maanas is a third-year biomedical engineering student and hopes to enroll in a M.D./Ph.D. program after graduating. Specifically, he specializes in conducting tissue engineering and regenerative medicine with a focus on cardiovascular medicine and glioblastoma multiforme. In his spare time, Maanas enjoys playing volleyball.







Nikita Kakkad web 

Nikita Kakkad

Route: Ozarks
School Year: Junior

Nikita is a biomedical engineering and Plan II Honors student. Her focal interests are reproductive health, health equity and community health. After graduating, she plans to go to medical school. In her spare time, her favorite activity is reading and she has a radio show at KVRX. She loves Earl Grey tea and while she is currently obsessed with the eggplant sandwich from Foodheads, her forever love is rosemary sea salt bagels.






Vani Shah web 

Vani Shah

Route: Rockies
School Year: Junior

Vani is a third-year biomedical engineering student with passion for research focusing on the immune system, the ways that cancer, auto-immune diseases, atopic immune system conditions and others function. She plans to continue this research into graduate school. In her spare time, Vani enjoys arts and crafts, speed walking, cooking (but not baking) and looking at very small flowers, leaves and bugs.





Lizzy Young web

Lizzy Young

Route: Sierra
School Year: Senior

Lizzy is a senior biomedical engineering student who wants to enter the medical device industry after the summer ride. Lizzy has a passion to advocate for people who do not have access to essential health care and to tailor treatment options specific to the patient. In her free time, Lizzy enjoys spending time with her dogs, having endless conversations about the most random things with her roommates, running, traveling, going to concerts and spending time with her family.




Screenshot 2024 06 24 at 3.00.29 PMAbout the Ride

The riders arrange all their accommodations in advance during the training year, relying on the generosity of host families, churches and schools.

The Texas 4000 for Cancer competitively selects UT students for an 18-month program designed to cultivate student leaders and engage communities in the fight against cancer. To date, the organization has awarded $4.6 million in grants toward the fight against cancer.

Riders aim to raise at least $4,500 each, ride more than 2,000 training miles with their team and volunteer more than 50 hours in the community.