Physical Models of Proteins by Rapid Prototyping

Period of Performance: 03/15/2000 - 08/31/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

3D Molecular Designs
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Principal Investigator


As advances in structural biology continue to provide a wealth of protein structural information, it is becoming increasingly necessary for biochemists and molecular biologists to be able to visualize these structures in three dimensions. While sophisticated molecular graphics systems have been developed to display and analyze these structures, many investigators have neither ready access to nor experience in using this equipment. As a solution to this problem, we will apply a newly-developed rapid prototyping technology, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), to the production of accurate, three-dimensional physical models of protein structures. These physical models can be thought of as "portable 3-D graphical displays" that are always "on". Furthermore, they afford the investigators with a tactile interface that is not possible in a standard computer-generated display. These physical models will enable investigators engaged in structure-based research projects to more easily visualize the structural details of a protein or protein active site, and to more readily discuss their results and ideas with others. We will investigate the optimal materials and build parameters that will allow us to apply this SLS technology to rapid and inexpensive production of accurate protein models. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: This product, a physical model of a protein or protein active site, will be of value to research scientists engaged in structure-based research in the biological sciences.