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Chinese Scientists Make 'Impossible' AI Breakthrough in Drug Research

By South China Morning Post

December 15, 2022

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Chinese scientists say they have achieved "the impossible": developing an AI that can predict the structural changes of proteins, a task so complex it is thought by many biologists – including China's "goddess scientist" Yan Ning – to be beyond the capabilities of machine learning.

The breakthrough could speed up the preclinical drug development process, according to the researchers, led by Professor Li Ziqing with Westlake University's school of engineering. Part of their work was published by peer-reviewed journal Advanced Science in October.

Protein molecules – the body's building blocks – are made up of long chains of amino acids. The three-dimensional structure of the chains causes reversible changes to the protein, depending on the required biological function, and these alternative structures are referred to as conformations.

From South China Morning Post
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