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New York Structural Biology Discussion Group

Predicting effective drug targets based on protein structure

New York Structural Biology Discussion Group

The shape of things

In the design world, form follows function. In biology, form begets function. From coils and chains to strands and sheets, the unique three-dimensional structure of biological materials is key to their function. The Y-shape of antibodies helps bind invading bacteria and viruses, while the pockets on the surface of enzymes help them hold onto other molecules and speed chemical reactions. The field of structural biology seeks to understand how different molecular architectures are used to perform the chemical reactions that are central to life.

Structural biology is changing the way we design drugs

Structural biology has revealed how misshapen molecules make us sick, and how we can design new medicines that bind to the unique shape of specific molecules, locking or unlocking their functionality. Routine treatments for HIV/AIDS, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis were all founded through a structure-based approach to drug design.

Today’s sophisticated tools and technologies offer a unique view of the structure of the biological world at work—including X-ray diffraction, NMR, electron microscopy, other spectroscopies and biophysical methods, protein expression, biophysical and bioorganic chemistry, computer science, and bioengineering.

Our portfolio of events and publications for the New York Structural Biology Discussion Group seeks to probe the complexity of the living cell at the molecular level, with special emphasis on applications of new knowledge and techniques to drug discovery.

Since the structure of the DNA double helix was first revealed in 1953 by James Watson and Francis Crick, scientists have continued to ask: Why does shape matter?


Sonya Dougal, PhD


Steering Committee Members

The New York Structural Biology Discussion Group Steering Committee, composed of multi-sector and multi-institutional scientists from the Academy’s network, provides thought leadership on key issues of interest to the structural biology community, helping to inform and shape our program portfolio.
John Hunt, PhD
Columbia University
David Jeruzalmi, PhD
City College of New York
Iban Ubarretxena, PhD
Mount Sinai School of Medicine