Research Report: Area students to test skills in ‘Brain Bee’

The Brain Bee comes to San Diego on Jan. 31. The event engages local high school students in friendly competition and provides them with opportunities to interact with scientists as well as college and graduate science students.

The contest takes place from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Neurosciences Institute Auditorium, 10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive. The public is invited.

Participants include 42 students from 16 schools, who will be quizzed about the brain and how it relates to intelligence, memory, emotions, aging, sleep and neurological disorders.

Understanding proteins

Proteins drive critical functions in the cells of everything from bacteria to humans. But deciphering genomic data to discover how the thousands upon thousands of proteins in an organism interact is one of the great research challenges. Now, comes word that scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and UCSD have devised a computational method that, with remarkable accuracy, predicts how bacterial proteins fold and interact.

In the short term, this new capability should allow development of new antibiotics that target and block newly identified protein interactions vital to the survival of disease-causing bacteria. In the longer term, some version of the new technique may allow similar protein predictive capabilities for higher organisms, spawning other effective therapy options. The study appears in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”