Faraday Discussions 2014

Hi there, here I am in Nottingham, England participating in the 2014 Faraday Discussion.  Faraday Discussion 169Each year the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK, hosts the Faraday Discussion on a chemistry related topic.  This year’s topic is Molecular Simulations and Visualizations.  One of the organizers is Art Olson at Scripps.  Art knew about my evaluation of Immune Attack and my development of Immune Defense and so he invited me to present a paper.  Exactly what I needed, a deadline!  Thanks to Art and the RSC, I finally spent 5 weeks analyzing the data from ~350 high school Immune Attack players/control game players…..

and I present tomorrow, 9 AM.

After me, a fantastic group from France presents who made an entertainment oriented Protein docking system!   UDock.  http://udock.fr/

Other great things I have seen here:

Cell Pack was created by Graham Johnson, Art Olson and Ludovic Autin (and perhaps other Scripps researchers in the Art’s Molecular Graphics lab…)  Graham is also famous for being one of only about 3 people at the Faraday Discussion with the Mac adaptor for the projector…

Do you use Unity?  Do you want to put proteins in your Unity projects?  Of course you do!  Well, now (or soon) you can use UnityMol to modify molecules directly in Unity.  Matthieu Chavent and Serge, a master’s student, also worked on the project.  Serge won the poster award–and is the nicest human ever because a) he is hilarious and b) he offered me his USB mouse so that people could play my Immune Defense demo better!  Better yet, he gave me his latest UnityMol build.  I can’t wait to see what I can do with it.  While I was copying the files, Serge went and found a script for exporting a mesh object that would let me use my newly crafted molecule surfaces meshes in my Unity projects…

Returning home after this exciting trip feels like my brain has slowed down to a crawl.  I hope that keeping this blog up to date with at least a small fraction of the exciting people I have meet on my science-chemistry-molecule-game related travels will keep me inspired and in high gear!

There last three talks were all related to my own interests in biochemistry:  Jim Zheng created a model of DNA in all of its coiled and folded glory in Unity.  Taking advantage of Unity’s Level of Detail and awesome scaling capablitities, Jim made brilliant model of chromatin that is going to revolutionize our understanding of gene regulation.  He is using HiC data to make his models…  and already I want to know what HiC data would tell me about about Drosophila cells before and after Hedgehog–is someone doing this experiment?

And finally, Markus Reiher and I determined at dinner last night that the majority of attendees find Monty Python hilarious.  I performed a silly walk before my talk this morning (it felt great to do it in the land of the Python) and I promised Markus this link to the talk John Cleeves gave about how to be creative and also, this link to a blog about creativity which blogged about John Cleeve’s talk about creativity.

And well, to celebrate my own independent creative beginning, I’ll paste dear old John Cleeves here onto my first blog post.

I want my audience, game players of all ages, to feel the joy of molecular discovery as much as we do.  So yeah, light hearted and sometimes not-very professional sounding explanations of my scientific and other inspirations will appear in this blog.  I hope to make molecular science an accessible thing.



Posted in Education and Evaluation, Game Design and Development, Newsletter

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