About the Protein Symposia
A new PACS outreach event in 2018 was a series of talks related to proteins, given by graduate students and guest scientists. The intent was to interest high school students in taking on projects about proteins in their course work or as extracurricular activities. In fact, “Proteins/Protein Science” is the newest addition to the Chemagination at Princeton competition. A second symposia was offered to a broader audience ranging from students to post-doctoral trainees, educators and interested community members.
Princeton ACS leadership recognizes the importance of attracting students to science and the challenge of training experienced scientists seeking knowledge about chemistry at the intersection of the life sciences. The symposia brought us one step closer to addressing these needs.
Photos taken at the Princeton ACS Protein Symposia, Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Princeton University, Spring 2018
Keynote Presentation, June 9: “The Protein Data Bank (PDB) as a Community Resource”
Helen M. Berman, PhD, Professor Emerita of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers, Piscataway, NJ, and co-Founder of the PDB
From left to right: Laura Ackerman, Kyle Biegasiewicz, Barbara Ameer (organizer), Helen Berman (keynote speaker), Alessio Caruso (speaker), Gabrielle Ilana (speaker)
Plenary Presentation, May 19: “Computational Design of Proteins with New and Useful Functions”
Christina Vizcarra, PhD, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Barnard College, New York, NY
Summary from Professor Vizcarra’s presentation
The impressive variety of things that proteins do in our bodies – from metabolizing food to powering muscle contractions and much more – has sparked interest in creating proteins that carry out novel functions. These functions could be useful in agriculture, nanotechnology, or medicine. One approach to protein engineering is computational design. This method has been used to create novel proteins and has also shown us how much we have to learn about these amazing biomolecules.
Check out these resources about the science of proteins:
- “Designer Proteins” article from PDB-101, RCSB PDB Molecule of the Month by Dr. David S. Goodsell
- Introductory lecture from iBiology on protein design by Dr. David Baker
- 2018 Nobel Laureate Dr. Frances Arnold‘s Frontiers lecture on directed evolution, “The Expanding Enzyme Universe” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIHb0BfZ1fg
- Solve protein puzzles with FoldIt
Princeton ACS received support for a protein symposium for high school science educators and their students from ACS as a Local Section Innovative Project Grant and for a broader audience from The Company of Biologists (www.biologists.com) as a Small Meeting Grant to Dr. Barbara Ameer, Alternate Councilor of Princeton ACS, organizer of the symposia and grant applicant.