Thursday, February 02, 2006


Sorry for the absence, classes tend to do that to me...

Anyway I went to a colloquium today that was pretty interesting. It was on biophysics which is usually pretty boring, but this one was good. It was about determining the specificity of reactions between chemicals and proteins. Specificity is basically how much that particular reaction is preferred to other reactions. This is important when designing drugs, because drugs with a high specificity have few side effects (because they will be performing the reaction that is wanted, not another one). However until now the only way to find the specificity is to test all possible combinations (or more likely, simulate them) and compare what happens. They guy giving the talk developed a method to determine the specificity of a reaction based on the energy spectrum of the reaction. Basically when the two chemicals get close together they can fit together is many ways, each of which has its own energy level. If the lowest energy level (and therefore most likely) is very separate from the next energy state then the two chemicals are a "good fit" and have a high specificity.

So hopefully future medicines have fewer side effects due to this research.

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