A chemistry professor uses virtual reality to provide students with an in-depth look at proteins.

Francis Yoshimoto, partner teacher in the UTSA College of Sciences’ Department of Chemistry, is presenting his Biochemistry II lab understudies to a better approach for learning—utilizing augmented reality headsets to notice and investigate protein structures.

Yoshimoto’s understudies used the Department of Computer Science’s VizLab to set up these augmented experience (VR) headsets. Understudies made previews of a protein utilizing customary PC programming—like Chimera or Pymol—and afterward went to a similar area of the protein in ProteinVR, an online sub-atomic representation program that permits one to see proteins with a VR headset.

“I’ve been looking at proteins on my computer screen for over 15 years. Putting on a virtual reality headset and going inside an actual protein was truly eye-opening for both myself and my students.”

Francis Yoshimoto, assistant professor in the UTSA College of Sciences

The SARS CoV-2 spike protein, for example, which the Covid uses to attack human cells, was arranged into 3D previews by searching the protein databank.

The 3D VR headsets demonstrated a successful method for instructing understudies about protein structures, immersing them in an extraordinary growth opportunity.Under the ProteinVR watcher with the Oculus headset, understudies could change their survey points of the protein and explore forward and in reverse by utilizing the joystick on the Oculus hand regulator. With the headset on, understudies could go inside the protein. If they had any desire to move another way around the protein, they could just shift their heads while wearing the headset and keep on pushing ahead and in reverse with the joystick.

Francis Yoshimoto’s Biochemistry II laboratory students were able to explore proteins in a unique way by utilizing virtual reality headsets in UTSA’s VizLab.
Credit: The University of Texas at San Antonio

“For nearly 15 years, I have been taking a gander at proteins simply on my PC screen,” Yoshimoto said. “Putting a computer-generated simulation headset on to go inside a real protein was genuinely an educational experience for both myself and my understudies.”

Augmented reality innovation is now being used in the biomedical industry. It has, for example, been used to assist pharmaceutical companies in their work planning novel medications—a new progression for developing new meds. By getting open and preparing in VR innovation, Yoshimoto’s understudies had the option to apply the abilities they acquired in the homeroom in a way that is pertinent to a future career in biomedical exploration. The venture is illustrative of UTSA’s obligation to programs that furnish understudies with a more prominent understanding of attractive abilities required in the working environment and are especially significant in connecting homeroom accomplishments to life after graduation for generally underserved populations.

Yoshimoto and his lab educators collaborated with the college’s Research Computing Support Group to organize this VR growth opportunity.

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