In a very cool video from Chemical and Engineering News, Art Olson of the Scripps Research Institute explains how chemists in his lab can predict how well the drugs they develop will work.
Olson's lab prints 3D models of molecular structures, both targets—like the HIV protease enzyme in the video—and the drugs they've made to bond to those targets. The models are rigged up so that when Olson holds them in front of a webcam, they instantly interact with chemical analysis software his team has built. The result is a system that allows researchers to see, physically, how well the drugs fit their targets, and simultaneously test how well the two are likely to bond on a chemical level.
Thanks, Aaron Rowe!
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.