Do I have to work on the research project at certain times of day?
The expectation is that you will devote approximately 30 hours per week to the research, professional development and meetings. When you schedule this time throughout the week is predominantly up to you. There will be some regular group/team meetings that you will be expected to attend, but these will be short and will be scheduled to try and fit within your specific time-frame.
Will I be expected to work totally on my own?
While we expect that student participants to be able to work independently and manage their own time, the research projects will be conducted in small teams of 2-3 individuals. As such, you will be working in parallel with some of your peers on the same research project. In addition, the entire group will regularly meet to learn about the tools we are using and the science. Participants will also have access to the faculty mentors through email and through regularly scheduled meetings to make sure that you are making good progress, have all of the resources that you need, and to answer any questions that you may have.
What kind of projects will we be working on?
Student participants will carry out team-based research on one of several different projects. The core of the work will involve using known structures of specific protein targets to dock a series of small molecules into the active site. Over the course of the summer, students will learn how to best visualize and manipulate the protein structures, how to prepare the structures and ligands for docking, how to implement the docking pipeline, and how to score, rank, compare and analyze the results. This workflow will be used iteratively to identify small molecule compounds that putatively bind tightly to the target protein, to identify important features of the protein that are involved in the molecular interactions, and to assess the structure-activity relationship of the identified ligands. This data will be used to generate and test novel compounds with the goal of identifying a small molecule, with favorable properties, that binds well to the target.