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Computing Structural Biology

Project Structure
Emily Carlson
Posted April 2007

The computer model generated by David Baker's team for the 2004 community-wide experiment (left) was strikingly similar to the protein's actual structure (right). Philip Bradley, David Baker
The computer model generated by David Baker's team for the 2004 community-wide experiment (left) was strikingly similar to the protein's actual structure (right).
Credit: Philip Bradley, David Baker

Most people enjoy a little friendly competition, and protein structure prediction researchers are no exception. Every other year, these experts go head-to-head to see whose computer models make the best predictions.

The goal is to most accurately model the shapes of pre-selected proteins. The contestants don't know the actual structures of these molecules, but the judges do. After reviewing the entries, the judges invite the most successful modelers to an international meeting where they talk about the approaches they used. The entire group discusses how all can do an even better job in the future.

The scientists don't actually call the event a "contest" or even a "competition." It's a "community-wide experiment" to improve the accuracy of protein prediction modeling so researchers can discover new drugs more quickly and cheaply.

Learn about related research

This page last reviewed on April 22, 2011