Playing With Molecular Proteins
Kyle.Maxey posted on October 26, 2012 |

Proteins, one of life’s most importing building blocks, do most of the work when it comes to the function and regeneration of cells in our bodies. Needless to say they’re pretty complex structures. 

Newswise is reporting that a biophysics researcher, Masaru Kawakami, has developed a new method for understanding the ways that proteins interact within our bodies.

“For biology researchers, the complex world of molecular proteins – where tens of thousands of atoms can comprise a single protein – may be getting clearer with the help of a new soft, transparent, and squishy silicone model they can hold in their hands. Its advantage over traditional computer and solid models is that it is mostly transparent and easy to manipulate, which will help researchers more intuitively understand protein structures, positions and interactions.”

In past years, a great deal of effort has gone into the development of techniques to better understand and explore proteins on a molecular level.  Robust 3D visualization programs have been built to understand their structure, but as the size and complexity of these molecules has increased so has the ability to communicate about them effectively.  Kawakami’s new tool seeks to turn this problem on its head with a playful solution.

According to Kawakami “I believe my model would be an effective discussion tool for the classroom or laboratory to stimulate inspired learning."

I’ve long been an advocate for learning through play, and I think that 3D Printing has been able to make complex objects easier to produce.  Kawakami’s new models are a great example of this idea.  Hopefully these models will help researchers develop new insights!

Read the Entire Article at Newswise

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