Science Olympiad National Protein Modeling Results
A team from Harriton High School in Rosemont, Penn. took first place in the National Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln May 15 and 16. The victory earns team members Jamie Song, Dayita Sharma, and Sarah Root a $10,000 scholarship every year for four years to attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), if they choose to apply to the university and are accepted.
Science Olympiad features nearly two dozen team events held at tournaments across the country. Teams are recognized for their performance in individual events and in the overall tournament. In Protein Modeling, students must prove they understand basic features of protein structure, use online visualization tools to explore and manipulate protein structures, and create 3D physical models of proteins using foam-covered wire.
The focus of this challenge was to model a fragment of the CRISPR Cas9 protein used to edit the human genome. Cas9 is a bacterial DNA nuclease enzyme that naturally functions in bacteria to protect them from invading viruses. Many researchers have recently modified the CRISPR/Cas9 system to be useful in gene-editing.
This year's protein modeling event was designed by MSOE and RCSB PDB, and highlights related Molecule of the Month columns as a resource. Related materials about this event are hosted by MSOE and RCSB PDB.