SOAR Student Profiles

Foram Patel

Foram Patel

  • SOAR Position: Member
  • Major: Computer Science
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Joshua L. Phillips

Current Focus: Validating the 1GB1 folding pathway using Greedy-Proximal A*

Project Description

This project is a validation study for the application of the greedy-proximal A* (GPA*) algorithm on the complex and fast-folding 1GB1 protein. Once this is validated, the approach may be applied to even larger proteins and across a broader spectrum of biological systems. We seek to compare computational folding paths of 1GB1, a tiny protein that is a mix of the primary structural components that make up most protein systems (helices and sheets), to experimental folding pathways described in the literature.

Why does this topic interest you?

I have always wanted to combine the two fields I am passionate about, Biology and Computer Science. This project has proved to be a perfect combination of both.

What are your professional aspirations?

The next step will be graduate school (I am looking for a program in Computational Biology), but nothing is set in stone yet, as I am keeping an open mindset for the future now. I am gaining a new perspective and am evolving as a learner every day and want to explore my options by gaining experience. I am currently a tutor for the MTSU Computer Science department and would love to continue helping other students in the future.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

The start of any research project will always be overwhelming, but to balance this, try to maintain a clear objective and take it one step at a time, setting manageable goals. It can be very easy to lose track of time and get overwhelmed by the long path ahead, so don't forget to take care of yourself. Try to keep an open mind as your project might end in a different direction than you started. Embrace this change, because the beauty of research lies in exploring new ways. Do not be afraid to try, or even fail sometimes. Most importantly, don't forget to learn from those failures. In the end, it will all work out, it always does!

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