Short Report by Paul Eisenhuth: Rosetta docking of allosteric modulators to the Y4 receptor. (Sept. – Dec. 2018)

/ January 15, 2019/ Research, Students

Enhancing pathogenicity prediction from structure and evolution with machine learning

Currently I am enrolled in a Computer Science Master program at the University of Leipzig. Since my program offers no practical experience in scientific research I was excited when I got offered to participate in the Max Kade Foundation Fellowship. During my ten weeks stay I started a completely new project with the goal to develop a pathogenicity prediction score on point variants in human genes incorporating structural and evolutionary features. Obviously, the scope of this project was way to big to be fulfilled during ten weeks only, so I aimed to collect some data, calculate features and train a machine learning algorithm to provide a foundation for futur research and a proof of concept. Thanks to the professional guidance of Greg Sliwoski as my supervisor, and Jens Meiler and Tony Capra as principle investigators as well as all the other helpful people in the Meiler Lab and Capra Lab I managed to achieve my goals and give the project a good start.

Within these ten weeks I learned a lot about genetics, protein structures, state of the art technologies and current research. I improved my skills in python, data collection and processing and gathered practical experience in working with neural networks. Furthermore, my stay provided insights into academical work and financing, career options in research and gave me a good idea what is important for me if wish to start a PhD and how to exceed in it. In addition I also improved my English skills in general, but especially within topics and discussion related to research.

The time I didn’t spend researching was used to get around town in Nashville, exercise in the Vanderbilt recreation and wellness center, participate in campus live and learn about the rich culture of the southern states. My colleagues and other visiting student were always up for social activities including a homecooked family diner and even a road trip to New Orleans. The experience was in any aspect absolutely great and will surely help me in my future career with all the things I learned about science, culture, people and myself.