Science at Stanford

Posted by at 4:32PM

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Since I’m a scientist, I figured I should at least post a little about some of the science that goes on at Stanford. Today’s inaugural installment is about Folding at Home. I’m a little biased because the faculty member is part of my PhD program and one of my best friends was a graduate student in his lab. But the concept is really cool and simple: use distributed computing to perform biological computations to study protein folding that were previously inaccessible.
If you’re not a biologist you might be wondering why we should care about protein folding. There is some fundamental biological principles that we can learn, but there are important clinical implications. Each gene has information that encodes a specific protein. In order for proteins to perform their proper function, they adopt a very specific three dimensional structure. That is, they “fold” to a specific shape that allows them to carry out their job. When proteins “misfold”, they can’t carry out their function and this can lead to serious problems. By understanding what goes wrong, we can begin to figure out how to go about fixing problems.
You can find out more at the Folding at Home website. You can help out the effort by downloading the software which runs in the background while you’re sleeping or out having a drink.
Update: If you want to contribute to my F@H team, I’m number 72156. I just started it a few days ago so I’m way behind.

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2 Responses to “Science at Stanford”

  1. Tadas Talaikis says:

    You may also consider Rosetta@home using BOINC manager which I use for almost a year now.

  2. Rachel says:

    SAVE THE SLAC LIBRARY: PASS IT DO NOT JUST READ IT
    The people that work at SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) are all proud and very smart individuals with families that love them and would hate for anything to happen to them. Every week they go to work and start traditions in their offices and departments and they have become a big family especially the inspiring individuals in the SLAC Library. They are a family that trusts and supports each other and when a family member is in trouble, all are there to help.
    I have come to know the SLAC library and archives members very well and seeing what they do everyday makes me want to be a strong individual when I graduate school and they are an inspiration to all. In SJSU I learned that a leader is someone that can take charge, over-see the operations and make sure that every member of the group is on task. The members of the great SLAC family of the library always do everything on time and work well together because of the leadership. I’ve seen members coming to work even on weekdays and prepare things and push their projects forward, not many other organizations would be at work on a weekend.
    I am not physics major but I know students at SJSU that want to work someday at SLAC Library. Students that are interested in becoming a physics major can work in the SLAC Library on an internship or because they are students. If the library will disappear at SLAC, what would the future students have for inspiration for learning physics? An opportunity would be lost. I, myself, had the pleasure of doing my community service there, I am very glad that I had that opportunity and am sad at the same time at the prospect of SLAC loosing the SLAC library.
    The SLAC Library is a strong family that works everyday. The members are: Kreitz Patricia, Redfield Ann, Brooks Travis, Van Sandt Denise, Kornienko Luba, Huang Maria, Row Georgia, Sha Victoria, Sullivan Mike, Wolf Leslye. They have made traditions and brought many cultures together and celebrated birthdays as well as baby showers. The library also is a SPIRES Database home and a lot of physicists will not be happy at the prospect of loosing the SPIRES friend at SLAC Library. The people, who work on the SPIRES, are not very many, the whole list from the entire world sums up about 33 people, and if SLAC looses the SPIRES members other countries might follow and the science would be not in a good shape. Those people might loose their jobs if you do not do something about it. Just pass it on and post it and if you do any other chats or anything post it there too, as many people know about it the better!
    Thank YOU so much

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