Talk Abstract

The ultimate goal of structural bioinformatics research is to provide a complete structural map of all macromolecules and their interactions within a cell. Knowledge about the structure of proteins and other macromolecules is essential for our understanding of biological processes. Proteins do most of the work in a cell and therefore the studies of proteins structure has been an essential part of life science research during the last decades. The performance of structure prediction methods has been blindly tested in CASP since 1994. It is clear that progress in both experimental and theoretical methods have been of uttermost importance for the progress. The rapid growth of determined protein structures has made it possible to build homology models for many proteins. However, surprisingly the exponential reduction in sequencing costs has also been fundamental for the progress since it: a) allows more distant homologies to be detected and b) can nowadays be used to predict contacts in proteins reliably.

However, most proteins do not act alone but through interactions with other proteins (and other molecules). Therefore, it is essential to understand not only the structure of a protein but also its interactions. Here, systems biology approaches are often used to understand what interactions are made but these studies mostly ignore the atomistic details about the interactions, i.e. how, the interactions are made.

Here, I will present recent progress in the structural bioinformatics field with a focus on what is still missing to provide a complete picture of all interacting macromolecules in a cell. In particular there are three problems that need to be solved: ⅰ) improved detection of the parts that make up a cell; ⅱ) accurate predictions of interactions of intra- and inter-residue contacts for all type of proteins; and ⅲ) improved accuracy of both experimental and theoretical methods to identify protein-protein interactions.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Elofsson received his PhD in Medical Biophysics from the Karolinska Institutet. After two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow under David Eisenberg at UCLA, he moved to Stockholm University as an assistant professor, associate professor, and since 2006, a full professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. He supervised 16 PhD students during this time and 1999 to 2005 also served as vice director of the Stockholm Bioinformatics Center.

Dr. Elofsson is a prolific scientist with 122 scientific publications, with an H-index of 50 and a total of over 8900 citations. He is currently deputy editor for PLoS Computational Biology and has served as associate editor for PLoS Computational Biology and Protein Science. Active in community service, Dr. Elofsson lead the Society for Bioinformatics in the Nordic countries (SocBiN) as its president from 2004 until 2015, organizing the SocBiN conference in 1999 and 2012 and co-organizing ISMB 2010 and Protein Society 2011. He frequently gives invited lectures at conferences and workshops and has received several awards, including the Sven and Ebba-Christina Hagbergs prize in 1999.