NSF Awards $9 Million to Support Understanding of Proteins in Cells


The National Science Foundation has made a $9 million, five-year grant to a collaboration of researchers from Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University and the National Canadian Research Council to advance a new field called Computational Biolinguistics.

Computational Biolinguistics, which combines the use of computational tools, including statistical language modeling, machine learning methods and high-level language processing, will allow scientists to better understand how proteins work inside cells.

As in languages, where there are sequences of letters that fall into patterns that make them understandable, there are sequences of amino acids in proteins that can be read to understand their structure, dynamics and function. Sequences of amino acids and their constituents can be thought of as syllables or words that have particular properties.

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