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Engineering | Undergraduate Research

Integrated Information for Protein Structure Analysis

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Dr. Zoe Lacroix, Associate Research Professor in the Polytechnic School, is seeking a future FURI applicant or Honors Research/Thesis student to work on the Management and Optimization of Scientific Workflows project.

Proteins are essential parts of organisms and their functions involved in a large spectrum of activities in the biological cell. The structure of proteins gives more insight in their function than the knowledge of their sequence (the description of the linear succession of amino acids that compose them). Mutations caused to proteins can dramatically impact their structure, thus their function. The project SPROUTS (StructuralPrediction for PRotein FOlding UTility System) was initiated in 2006 with the aim of comparing and integrating various structural analyses and producing a combined view of the results to the scientists.

We are looking for a student interested in the fascinating and exciting challenge of developing technology to support scientific discovery. The project is not a project in bioinformatics and no prior knowledge in biology is necessary (although it is not required such knowledge is of course welcome!).

Dr. Lacroix is inviting talented undergraduate students to join her team to extend the scope of SPROUTS to new information related to protein function. In the context of the project students will be exposed to the use of ontologies to describe conceptually the problem and design the solution. They will be exposed to database design issues and structural maintenance of databases. They will be exposed to issues of data integration. Students interested to join the team will work closely with a graduate student and under the supervision of Dr. Lacroix. Successful undergraduate students typically have the opportunity to co-author research papers and present their work at workshops and conferences.

This is an opportunity that is eligible for the FURI program. Barrett Honors College students are also welcome to apply to work on their honors research/thesis.

Students should apply by sending their resume, cover letter, and unofficial transcripts to Dr. Lacroix at


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