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To design the next generation of medicines, scientists want to be able to peer inside our cells to study the molecular machinery within. Instead of buying a submarine and trying to invent a shrink-ray, some practically minded scientists in the field of computational biology have been using computer simulations to visualise and understand these amazing worlds which exist within all of us. For one night only, we have tempted two such scientists away from their supercomputers and into the pub for an evening of cutting edge science, fun and beer. Please note: this event has no step free access.
Big-Data in medicine
Professor Franca Fraternali (Professor in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology)
Diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s need more effective therapies. Recent progress in biomedicine has led to the identification of new genes that can be targeted in the design of drugs. It is becoming evident that the strategy one-protein-one-drug is not the most efficient one. Proteins interact in our cells to function and maintain them in a healthy state, therefore one needs to target more proteins simultaneously. Computer analysis of databases on protein interactions, small molecules and relative drug efficacy is becoming a key tool in shedding light on new approaches to drug development.
From the Manhattan Project to medicinal chemistry
Jamie Macpherson (PhD Researcher)
Uncovering differences between human proteins and their counterparts in lower organisms (bacteria, viruses, etc.) is important in the design of targeted therapeutics, which aim to specifically kill foreign pathogens in our body. An important tool in our arsenal in elucidating subtle features of protein dynamics is the use of molecular dynamics simulations – a technique borne out of the Manhattan Project and advanced by ever-growing computer power. I will discuss physical principles and algorithms used by our laboratory to investigate disease-related proteins.