Leon Hardy, PhD, of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP), presented for the HudsonAlpha Research Seminars on October 11. Hardy holds a PhD in mathematics from the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, and a masters in physics from the University of Central Florida. He is a lecturer in physics at USFSP, and his research interests are in highly interdisciplinary approaches to solving problems ranging from cognitive science to computational biology.

Hardy uses numerical approaches to solve complex biological problems when no analytical solution is possible. The usefulness of computational biology is demonstrated by its ability to determine binding energies, check a protein model’s stability, determine thermodynamic properties and understand protein folding. These insights can provide clues into how to correct protein malfunction, decide what drugs to test in wet labs and find cures for a host of diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer disease. For the HudsonAlpha seminar, Hardy used the example of the pepsin protein, which is responsible for acid reflux and increased risk of esophageal cancer.

Brittany Lasseigne, PhD, hosted Wednesday’s seminar.

The next research seminar will be Wednesday, October 25, featuring Henry T. “Hank” Greely, JD, of Stanford University.

More information on HudsonAlpha Research Seminars can be found at hudsonalpha.org/seminars.

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