Jeremy Smith News

UT Researchers Use Computers for Drug Research


UT researchers are using supercomputing to simulate the interactions of drug compounds and proteins in the body. The computers allow them to rapidly collect and analyze data which could make medicine cheaper, find new uses for existing drugs, and enhance the understanding of a drug’s potential side effects.

Time: Squid Protein: Our Best Defense Against Chemical Weapons?

Time logo

Time wrote about a recent study by UT and ORNL researchers, published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry, that focuses on the engineering of enzymes produced in the bodies of squid that may be effective in breaking down nerve gasses and other deadly chemical weapons. The team aspires to create a prophylactic drug from these enzymes that will mitigate their harmful effects on humans, but first they must modify the enzymes to ensure that the human body won’t destroy them first.

UT, ORNL Scientists’ Discoveries Could Help Neutralize Chemical Weapons

Nerve agent sarin bound to bioscavenger enzyme.

Researchers at UT are a step closer to creating a prophylactic drug that would neutralize the deadly effects of the chemical weapons used in Syria and elsewhere. Jeremy Smith, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair and an expert in computational biology, is part of the team that is trying to engineer enzymes—called bioscavengers—so they work more efficiently against chemical weapons.

UT Receives Funding from Intel to Push Supercomputing Limits, Establish Center

Imagine going to the doctor and the doctor peering into your genetic code to determine the best medicine to treat what ails you. The campus has received funding from computer chip maker Intel to develop computer codes to make personalized medicine like this and other transformative scientific discoveries possible.

Scientists Solve Mercury Mystery

By identifying two genes required for transforming inorganic into organic mercury, which is far more toxic, UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientists today have taken a significant step toward protecting human health. The question of how methylmercury, an organic form of mercury, is produced by natural processes in the environment has stumped scientists for decades, but a team comprised of four researchers at UT has solved the puzzle.

Research Highlighted by American Physical Society

A piece by Jeremy Smith, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Molecular Biophysics, and Alexei Sokolov, Governor’s Chair for Polymer Science, is currently the spotlight on the American Physical Society’s Physics page. Entitled “Elastic and Conformational Softness of a Globula Protein,” the piece examines certain protein behaviors such as why protein flexibility sometimes increases dramatically with temperature.