Optibrium’s StarDrop™ drug discovery software inspires the next generation of high-school students in their challenge to target COVID-19
CAMBRIDGE, UK and Durham, NC, USA, 08 July, 2020: Optibrium™, a leading provider of software and services for drug discovery, and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), the states leading high school for science, technology and math education, are celebrating five years of an education support collaboration.
As part of this specialist science and technology summer school program, Optibrium provides free access to StarDrop™, Optibrium’s pioneering software for small molecule design, optimization and data analysis. The classes encourage high school students to take their first steps in drug discovery. This year, in addition to the academic year course ‘Honors Computational Medicinal Chemistry’, 80 rising juniors and seniors will embark upon a special summer short-course entitled ‘Computing COVID-19’, utilizing StarDrop in conjunction with other bioinformatics tools.
Optibrium’s lead product, StarDrop, is a comprehensive suite of integrated software employed by many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies in their drug discovery programs. As part of Optibrium’s commitment to supporting education, Optibrium sponsors NCSSM use of StarDrop, enabling students to experience realistic drug discovery processes by utilizing state-of-the-art software.
NCSSM aims to educate their students to become state, national, and global leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; advance public education in North Carolina; and inspire innovation through challenging residential, online, summer, and virtual learning driven by instructional excellence and the excitement of discovery.
Sarah Perkins, who attended the NCSSM course in 2016, is currently completing an undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, said: “The NCSSM medicinal chemistry course was transformative for me in that it catalyzed my interest in computational and modeling approaches to biology alongside more traditional wet-lab approaches. The extensive computational framework and experience we built in the course have influenced my academic trajectory and approach to scientific research.”
Dr Matthew Segall, Optibrium’s CEO, said: “Through our educational outreach program, we aim to encourage the next generation of computational chemists, scientists and software developers, and enable them to explore the latest developments in cutting-edge technologies currently employed by leading pharmaceutical R&D organizations. In addition to NCSSM, we are working with several universities worldwide and are pleased to consider support for institutions who wish to collaborate with Optibrium.”
Mr Robert R. Gotwals, Jr, a computational chemist at NCSSM, said: “We very much appreciate Optibrium’s continued support and having access to StarDrop is highly relevant as it provides the full functionality of industry-grade technology. The highly intuitive user interface allows us to instinctively engage, enabling the students to work on original science. In the past, students spent a considerable amount of time focussed on data collection, with little time left for analysis. StarDrop solved that problem by offering a professional platform in which to explore metabolism studies.”