3D Printing Biomolecular Models
As an undergraduate Eduardo came into the lab thinking 3D printing was science fiction. After several months immersing himself in the MakerLab, he developed a process to download protein data sets from the Protein Data Bank and render them in a molecular visualizer, in a format suitable to be 3D printed. In the course of his work, he downloaded from the protein bank and rendered on his own over 50 proteins that had never before been physicalized. The National Institutes of Health noticed his work, and while still an undergraduate, in a 2016 collaboration with the NIH, Eduardo published a technique for using low end consumer 3D printers to make models of proteins. Soon after Eduardo worked closely with Prof. Krummel’s Biochemistry class teaching students to print proteins for other students, revolutionizing the teaching of molecular biology and moving it from 3D projection on screen to physical objects every student could handle, examine, and take home with them.
Professor Koh is a professor in the Chemistry and Classics departments, and teaches in both. The Brandeis MakerLab partnered with the Digital Humanities Lab to advance what’s possible for his field research. We bought a field kit to Greece for the summer of 2016 to work with the Heraklion Museum digitizing ancient objects from warrior tombs dating between 3000 and 5000 BC. The 3D scans were so accurate that we were able to perceive fingerprints on pottery never before noticed. There are plans through 2020 to do additional field work each summer, including aerial 3D scans of tomb excavations and preservation through the use of digitization techniques of tomb exteriors before excavation. Professor Koh is excited that this will provide major leaps in what’s possible for modern Archaeology. Brandeis CLARC (Classical Artifact Research Collection) undergraduate research students are involved in this effort. They are involved in the processing of 3D scan data. Also, while there were no undergraduates from Brandeis on site this past summer, they plan to bring Brandeis undergraduates in future summers. It’s a real Brandeis undergraduate research opportunity.