At the University of Notre Dame, the Molecular Structure Facility (MSF) analyzes organic or inorganic substances at an atomic level, which allows researchers to learn about the three-dimensional structure and connectivity of the compound they have created. Knowing the molecular make-up of substances oftentimes provides faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students information about whether or not their substance is actually what was intended or even to see if their research is heading in the right direction.
VeriPAD, a startup created by a multidisciplinary team of City College of New York (CUNY) students and recent graduates in collaboration with University of Notre Dame faculty, was awarded the $25,000 Zahn Innovation Center social impact new venture competition grand prize.
Drugs to treat cancer and Alzheimer’s disease usually target the active sites of specific protein molecules sustaining the disease. Traditional drug design views proteins as rigid 3-D objects with active sites consisting of surface-accessible “pockets” with a specific, well-defined structure. Traditional drug design involves finding small molecules with shapes that fit specifically into this pocket. A new study from University of Notre Dame researchers suggests that there are alternative approaches to targeting these proteins, a significant finding for future clinical applications.