A new technique called THEMATICS – Theoretical Microscopic Titration Curves – uses a simple computation to predict the function of a protein. This method has been used successfully to locate the active sites of a number of different kinds of proteins, and will prove highly valuable in transforming information from the human genome into useful form.
"What is most amazing about this method is its simplicity," notes Northeastern University Professor of Chemistry Mary Jo Ondrechen. "The calculations are very easy to do and relatively fast." An article scheduled for publication in the October 23, 2001 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and just published in the online version of PNAS, reports on the THEMATICS method, authored by Ondrechen and Brandeis University scientists Dr. James G. Clifton and Professor eDagmar Ringe.
"The method will help in the understanding of newly discovered genes and newly discovered proteins. The method also holds promise as a tool to guide the discovery of new pharmaceuticals to treat disease," says Ondrechen. Professor Ondrechen works in the area of theoretical and computational chemistry: explaining observed phenomena and predicting new phenomena. Her interest lies in the rational design of materials, the study of enzyme-substrate interactions, and the development of new tools for bioinformatics.
Northeastern University, a private research institution located in Boston, Massachusetts, is a world leader in practice-oriented education. Building on its flagship cooperative education program, Northeastern links classroom learning with workplace experience and integrates professional preparation with study in the liberal arts and sciences.