Connecting Researchers, Educators, and Students (CREST) is a professional organization primary specializing in giving underclassmen and opportunity to explore real-world research in computational biology. Our research involves understanding scientific papers, using protein modeling software, and communicating our findings with other professionals. We meet weekly to develop a digital model for a protein of interest. These digital models give insight into the functions of the protein and can ultimately lead to new discoveries.
ASBMB Annual Conference
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Annual Conference is a meeting place for students and professional researchers alike to connect and share their projects from the past year. The upcoming conference will be held in Philadelphia and we are seeking travel funds to attend the conference. This will give our two CREST (student researchers) teams an opportunity to present their research to other scientists from across the country. The conference is a great networking event, as well as a chance to see what future projects we might be involved in. We are also planning to connect with out mentor at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. David Koes, and present our research to him.
CREST focuses on teaching Computational Biology, which is the discipline of using computers to generate data driven insight into how biological systems work such as drugs binding to proteins.
This year's CREST teams will be using what is known as the Elastic Network Model (ENM) of protein structure to study how a protein's dynamics impact its susceptibility to modulation via drug binding.
The two proteins we are studying are known as Mur-E ligase, and SCP2 respectively. Mur-E ligase is an enzyme that is essential for synthesizing the cell wall of bacteria, which makes inhibiting it a prime goal for antibiotic development. For this project, we will be identifying promising antibiotic candidates by virtually screening compounds provided by the Open Antibiotic Project.
The second project focuses on the endocannabinoid transporter SCP2. It is a protein that is essential in removing the cannabinoids that the body produces (compounds that make people happy). Thus its inhibition is a key target for the development of anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals and has been linked to substance abuse.
For both of the projects above, CREST members have been learning about how to use software to gain insight into protein dynamics and how this knowledge can be used to fuel the next generation of drug discovery.
Why do we need your support?
Milwaukee School of Engineering is not a research organization, which means that undergraduates pursuing a career in research will have little experience unless they seek it outside of their academic courses. CREST is one of the few student organizations that gives undergraduates these unique real-world research opportunities, bridging the gap to prepare them for graduate school or a career in the field.
While MSOE and ASBMB provide some funds, the cost to attend a conference adds up quickly. With your help, we can offset the costs of the conference to allow as many students to attend as possible from our underclassmen research teams. Your support is vital to the mission of CREST, impacts the future of our research teams, and most importantly prepares us for our future in the research field.