As a computational biologist and biochemist, David has become one of the most influential experts in the field of protein folding.
Much of what we've discussed in this season's Theory and Practice relates to the fascinating world of the human genome. Today, we expand that conversation to talk about the output from our genomes: proteins. We can think of no better guest for that topic than esteemed professor and Breakthrough Prize winner David Baker.
As a computational biologist and biochemist, David has become one of the most influential experts in the field of protein folding. His pioneering work as the head of the Baker Lab at The Institute for Protein Design has transformed how we understand protein motion, folding, and design. The importance of this work cannot be stressed enough: If we can understand the complexity of proteins — the building blocks of life — that knowledge leads to the creation of better therapeutics that propel humanity, and scientific progress, forward. His perspective on the fundamental challenges in computational protein design and his belief that progress often comes from information theory and evolution rather than physics are truly path-breaking ideas.
In this episode, we explore the inspiration for Rosetta@home and Foldit and how David involved non-scientists in this high-powered field. He also discusses how his lab is using this new-found knowledge to develop de novo proteins to combat COVID-19. And we look into the future of what he has called the "technological molecular design revolution."
Please tune in to hear the full episode to explore what's next for protein folding.