Scientists are now using computers to help discover new drugs. Researchers at the University’s Center for Drug Design are in the forefront of these efforts. Professor Yuk Sham and his research group are studying the molecular recognition process of how molecules selectively associate with one another. Understanding the specific interactions involved is important for identifying and designing new drugs that can inhibit the normal function of viral proteins and stop the proliferation of viruses.
HIV/AIDS is an incurable disease. With the continuing emergence of drug resistance, it is extremely important to continue developing new drugs for the long-term management of the HIV/AIDS patients. Dr. Sham and his group, working closely with other members of the Center for Drug Design, use MSI high-performance computing clusters to develop accurate structural models to better understand these interactions to design a better inhibitor for the discovery and development of new antiviral drugs. The image above shows the structural model of HIV integrase developed by Professor Sham's research group. It is an essential viral enzyme that incorporates the HIV genome into human DNA. Effective inhibition of this enzyme is one of the validated approaches for the effective treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Sham’s group has also created videos describing the drug-development process against HIV/AIDS. They can be seen on YouTube:
"Targeting HIV Replication” (3:02 min)
"Making of an AIDS Drug” (2:26 min)