VeraChem LLC founders Drs. Michael Gilson, Michael Potter, and Hillary Gilson, using UMBI licensed intellectual property, are creating scientific software that provides expert users with tools for computer-aided drug discovery and molecular design. VeraChem’s recent first sale, a pre-release version of Vconf, is followed by the projected launch on September 8 of Vcharge, a new software product for computing molecular properties important in drug design. The official launch of Vconf is expected to follow later in 2004.
“Vcharge combines speed and accuracy in a unique software package that will be available for the Linux and Windows operating systems,” says Dr. Gilson, Chief Scientific Officer for VeraChem LLC and Professor at UMBI’s Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology. “This product is just the first in a series that will bring advanced computational methods in an affordable and user-friendly format to experts in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.”
“Vcharge is a tool for computer-aided drug design,” says Dr. Gilson. “It allows the designer to compute the atomic charges of a candidate drug molecule as a step in determining whether it will effectively bind a targeted protein. Most drugs work by binding tightly to a targeted protein molecule. For example, HIV protease inhibitors help patients by binding and blocking the function of a protein that the AIDS virus needs to survive and reproduce. Each atom of a protein carries a small electrical charge and, since opposite charges attract while like charges repel, it is important that the atoms of a drug molecule have charges which complement the targeted protein.”
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At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
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