Let Your Computer Daydream Protein Structures: The Microbiome Immunity Project's 1st Full Year

Researchers from three leading scientific institutions are collaborating to explore the proteins in the human microbiome. Learn more about how they work together, and what they've accomplished at the end of the project's first full year, in this update.


Trillions of bacteria live inside and on our bodies. The Microbiome Immunity Project is using the computational power of World Community Grid to study the proteins produced by these bacteria, which are encoded in their genomes.

Our first step is to determine the physical structures (shapes) of the protein molecules coded by each bacteria’s genes. This is important because the physical structure of a protein determines its function.

Once the protein functions are determined, we can explore how the bacterial proteins react with each other, and determine which proteins may play a role in autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.

We’ve created three short videos, one from each institution working on the project, to give you more information about how the project works, what we’ve done so far, and what we hope to accomplish with the help of your donated computing power.

Our Progress So Far

In this video, Dr. Tomasz Kosciolek of the University of San Diego gives an update on the project’s progress to-date. Look for a summary slide at 0:34, and don’t miss the bison! (Please note that the number of proteins listed on the summary slide is as of October; the project has predicted the structures of additional proteins since then.)


Predicting the 3D Structures of Proteins

Below, Dr. Doug Renfrew of the Flatiron Institute explains how your computing power is helping the research team predict the 3D structure of proteins, and summarizes why this is important. (And he does it all in about 90 seconds.)


 The Human Microbiome’s Role in Disease

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is where microbiome protein research and medical research intersect. In this video, Dr. Tommi Vatanen outlines what we do and don’t know right now about the human microbiome’s role in certain diseases…and what we hope to find out, with your help.

Thank You

Everyone who donates their unused computing power is an important part of the Microbiome Immunity Project. We couldn’t do it without you!


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