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Advanced Lab Students Gain Opportunity to use Pittsburgh Supercomputer

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Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2021

Westminster biochemistry and chemistry students were granted permission to work on the Pittsburgh Supercomputer during a four-week long project. 

As a part of the Advanced Lab: Synthesis and Analysis course, students ran large molecular dynamics simulations on a variety of biomolecules using the computational resources at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.  In order to simulate and analyze their results they researched their own biomolecules—molecules present in organisms that are essential to cell division, morphogenesis, or development. 

Assistant professor of chemistry, Dr. Jessica Sarver, helped bring this simulation to life through an educational grant for computational resources. 

“By accessing the Pittsburgh Supercomputer, the students gain real, hands-on experience that a graduate student or researcher would use to provide supplemental or exploratory data,” says Sarver. 

Students were able to remotely connect to the Pittsburgh Supercomputer from their personal computers at Westminster to run the computationally expensive simulations. 

“Working with this project was an incredible learning experience. It’s this next generation technology that is powering the future of chemistry, and it’s invaluable that we were able to become familiar with it,” said Izayah Bojanac, a junior biochemistry major. 

With this type of technology becoming increasingly popular, these Westminster students got a taste of their future careers before they even started. 

For more information about the Biochemistry and Chemistry Departments, click the department of choice.