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Relevant Research for Senior Peggy Yin

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Senior Peggy Yin took part in Brookhaven National Laboratory’s High School Research Program, a highly competitive summer educational opportunity for students interested in pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics studies. The program, which took place virtually this year, offered Peggy and other Suffolk County High School students an opportunity to conduct research under the mentorship of application architect Hubertus van Dam as part of the newly formed National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory. Their collective research was on a topic relevant for the times: COVID-19.

Peggy and her colleagues conducted computational studies and explored how inhibitor drugs can disrupt viral proteins that help infectious particles escape from cells. To learn how the virus protein works, the students conducted numerous docking studies to model how the viral protein and tetherin (an interferon-induced protein) interact, as well as the interactions of the virus protein with small druglike molecules to see which might work to stop the virus from blocking glycosylation. Their research was conducted with access to BNL’s supercomputing clusters to run molecular dynamics simulations.

Peggy, who applied for the program in late winter – before COVID-19 became a pandemic – highlighted her desire to perform computational biology research in her essay. As her awareness of the magnitude of the virus expanded, she inquired about the possibility of performing COVID-19 research.

“My hope is that our research could shed light on the mechanisms of how these viruses work, and our research could help with other areas of coronavirus research and prevent other pandemics in the future,” she said.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020