To reach our objectives, we are developing methods for computational prediction of protein structures for medical countermeasures.
This objective encompasses the characterization of proteins of pathogenic organisms that could potentially serve as therapeutic targets for development into vaccines. To achieve this objective, it is necessary to develop scalable software tools to enhance the ability to determine the structure of proteins at the atomic and molecular levels; specifically the spatial positions of key amino-acid residues (namely, the building blocks of proteins), as well as their chemical and physical properties. The ability to predict protein structure will be a major enabler of computational, rather than experimental, characterization of protein function, protein engineering, protein-drug binding, identification of immunogens for vaccines, and assessment of biological function in proteins with low sequence similarity with ancestral proteins. Both physics-based (ab initio) and structural/sequence bioinformatics approaches will be employed in the development of computational strategies to better characterize protein function and structure. All of these abilities are critical to accelerate the design of advanced drug and vaccine products for our Force Health Protection mission. It is expected that the portfolio of software applications developed here will find wide applicability in the fields of drug and vaccine development.
Prospective applicants should have a strong background in protein biochemistry, drug development, vaccine development, systems modeling and simulation, and computational prediction models.
Computational biology; Computational chemistry; Molecular docking; Protein structure prediction; Protein function prediction;