Creation of Printable Protein Models from Atomic Coordinates


  • Maxwell Meytin Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Intern
  • Dr. Iosif Vaisman Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Primary Mentor



The creation of physical protein models would be useful in a variety of different situations, from helping students who are visually impaired to providing a new perspective on how molecular structures that normally cannot be seen without the use of specialty equipment. Through the process of 3D printing, a digital model can be converted into a physical object, enabling humans to interact with this form of data more efficiently. Protein structures were constructed in a 3D modeling program (OpenSCAD) by assigning primitive shapes such as spheres and cylinders to coordinate information obtained from the Protein Data Bank (PDB). A Python script was used to convert the data into a code format accepted by OpenSCAD. From there, the model could be rendered and then printed using a variety of different printing mediums. Through this process, aids could be created to help teach a variety of classes. Improvements to this program, such as being able to process other types of molecular data for the creation of more models, could be done in the future.





College of Science: School of Systems Biology