[Illinois] Computational Microscopy for Health and Technology

By Klaus Schulten

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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It is today becoming possible to view and study biological systems on the cellular scale using computational methods, offering insights into new solutions to mankind's health and energy needs. Engineers and scientists at our NIH Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics have worked over the last two decades to combine the most advanced computer technology and the best biomedical science to develop a suite of computer programs that today serve more than 300,000 registered users in many fields of biology and medicine. These programs utilize the most highly resolved microscopies (x-ray, electron beams) to provide chemically detailed views of systems such as healthy and diseased cells and of whole viruses.Our center recently published the first complete atomic resolution structure of the full HIV capsid; this structure is already being used to help understand how HIV-inhibiting drugs work on the capsid, thus offering unprecedented opportunities for developing pharmacological interventions. Our center also studies, at the most detailed level possible, the chemical processes involved in second-generation biofuels production and in photosynthesis to help guide new means of extracting chemical energy from renewable resources. We will soon be able to generate atomic-level views of entire living cells, opening a treasure chest of data for biotechnology, pharmacology, and medicine.This lecture will present practical applications of computational microscopy covering nanosensor development, protein design, antibiotics, antiviral drugs, photosynthesis, and novel enzymes for producing biofuels from agricultural waste.



Klaus Schulten (UIUC) received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1974. He is Swanlund Professor of Physics and is also affiliated with the Department of Chemistry as well as with the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology. Professor Schulten is a full-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute and directs the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group. His professional interests are theoretical physics and theoretical biology. His current research focuses on the structure and function of supramolecular systems in the living cell, and on the development of non-equilibrium statistical mechanical descriptions and efficient computing tools for structural biology.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Klaus Schulten (2013), "[Illinois] Computational Microscopy for Health and Technology," http://nanohub.org/resources/19483.

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign