Category Archives: Smith College

Protein Geometry and Structure

Chemistry: Cristina Suarez (Smith College)
Mathematics and Computer Science: Ileana Streinu (Smith College)

The structure of proteins and other large biomolecules can be determined with a variety of experimental techniques, the most prominent ones being X-ray crystallography and NMR. Although the information gathered from the experiment is often noisy and sometimes incomplete or even wrong, we can extract meaningful information concerning protein structure and function from such data, with appropriate mathematical modeling. Students engaged in this project explore questions directly motivated by protein geometry, and participate in the design and development of prototype computer simulations. The underlying mathematics includes graph theory, computational geometry, rigidity theory, kinematics, algebraic geometry and topology.