We at the University of Washington are investigating whether the brainpower of humans worldwide can be brought to bear on critical problems posed in computational biology. The long term goal of this project is to utilize the combined power of humans and computers in order to build accurate models of disease-related proteins by introducing a new approach: distributed computing driven by human intuition.
The problem of accurate prediction of protein structures remains one of the most important unsolved dilemmas in biology. Determining the correct structure of a protein helps researchers successfully target them with drugs. Currently, experimental methods for solving protein structures result in accurate, high-resolution solutions, but cannot keep pace with the quantity of information. Developing new computational techniques to produce experimental-quality models is one of the most important problems in computational structural biology.