'Squishy' model shows cell biology

Aug. 24, 2012 at 4:55 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- A new soft, transparent and squishy silicone model could offer biology researches hands-on help to learn the secrets of molecules, its Japanese developer said.

Created by Masaru Kawakami a biophysicist researcher at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, it is mostly transparent and easy to manipulate, intended to help researchers more intuitively understand protein structures, positions, and interactions.

The model, described in the American Institute of Physics journal Review of Scientific Instruments, will enable researchers to quickly and collaboratively see, touch and test ideas about molecular interactions and the behavior of proteins, Kawakami said.

"Because my new model is soft, users can deform the model and experience ligand binding or protein-protein association, which has never been possible with other physical molecule models," he said.

"I believe my model would be an effective discussion tool for the classroom or laboratory to stimulate inspired learning."

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