FAHcon 2012: Prof. Dr. Xuhui Huang

Here's a guest post from Prof. Dr. Xuhui Huang, from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.  

I had a great time attending the first annual FAH conference and enjoyed the nice summer weather in the Bay area.  We had plenty of discussions on the recent progress and future plans of FAH on both scientific and technique sides.  I look forward to the future FAH conferences. 

In my talk, I reported recent results on two projects from our lab.  The first one is the development of a new algorithm for the automatic construction of Markov State Model to investigate the conformational dynamics of multi-body systems.  This new algorithm holds great potential to help elucidate the aggregation mechanisms of multiple misfolded peptides to form oligomers and eventually fibrils.   In the future, we plan to apply this algorithm to study the human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP) peptides, and its aggregation may result in reducing working β-cells in the Type 2 diabetes patients. 

I have also presented our recent results on applying Markov State Models to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of gene transcription.  Transcription is the first step in reading genomic DNA.  Transcriptional regulation plays a key role in cell differentiation and other fundamental processes. Misregulation of transcription is a major factor in cancer and other human diseases.  Thus, elucidating the mechanism of transcription is crucial for understanding these processes.  Our simulation results are able to provide dynamic information for the transcription, and this dynamic information is largely inaccessible to present experimental techniques.