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Icon for: Brian Koepnick

BRIAN KOEPNICK

University of Washington, Center for Game Science

Foldit

NSF Awards: 1629879, 1652537

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Graduate, Adult learners, Informal / multi-age

Foldit is a game designed to tackle the problem of protein folding. Proteins are small “machines” within our bodies that handle practically all functions of living organisms. By knowing more about the 3D structure of proteins (or how they “fold”), we can better understand their function, and we can also get a better idea of how to combat diseases, create vaccines, and even find novel biofuels. Since its release, Foldit has gained over 460,000 players from all walks of life. In fact, the best Foldit players have little to no prior exposure to biochemistry. Most famous for their 2011 breakthrough on an HIV-like virus, we plan to show how Foldit has continued to contribute to valuable research to the present day.

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