The Governor’s Academy’s first SMART (Students Modeling A Research Topic) team first-formed in fall 2009 and had an extremely productive year. The team of ten students read numerous journal articles to inform their understanding of protein structure. They learned how to use Protein DataBank (PDB) files and the computer program Rasmol to model the influenza protein NS1. They made several trips down to MIT to learn about the work of Dr. Catherine Drennan in the Biochemistry Department. Her lab team is trying to solve the native conformation of ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), the enzyme that creates DNA subunits (nucleotides).
It was an incredible experience and students really got a sense of what scientists do. The researchers at MIT were in turn amazed at the level of discourse by our students. The team presented to the faculty at the Seminar Luncheon series in May and the many faculty in attendance (all departments were represented) were duly impressed.
SMART team is an afternoon activity at the Academy.