Theme for 2019-2020: CRISPR and Base Editing

This year’s event focuses on the CRISPR bacterial adaptive immunity system and base editing using cytidine deaminase. Explore the introduction video and additional content below to prepare for this year's event.

The Protein Modeling event is a formal collaboration between MSOE and RCSB PDB. The regional, state, and national events are sponsored by 3D Molecular Designs and Vertex.

For information on the 2020 Protein Modeling Competition please visit the MSOE site.

A model of the CRISPR Cas9 complex

There are three parts in the Protein Modeling competition:

Part 1: Pre-Build Model

40% of Final Score

Every team must submit a pre-build model of a specific protein structure. The pre-build model is worth 40% of a team's final score for the event.

  • The pre-build model will be created using a purchased "pre-build" Mini-Toober kit from www.3dmoleculardesigns.com, or with found materials of the participants' choosing such as KwikTwist tie-down ropes.
  • The same pre-build model will be used at each level of the competition (invitational, regional, state and national). Participants will take their pre-build model home after each event.
  • The pre-build model must be impounded prior to the beginning of the event (usually the morning of the event).
  • The pre-build model should be submitted with a 4"x6" card with a written description of the model's colors and creative additions, addressing what, how, and why. Check the official rules for details
Part 2: Jmol Exploration

30% of Final Score

The purpose of the Jmol exploration component of this year’s event is to allow students to demonstrate their skill in using Jmol to manipulate and explore a pdb file, and navigate the RCSB Protein Data Bank website (www.rcsb.org).

This portion of the competition is worth 30% of a team's final score for the event.

Students will be asked to provide written answers to two kinds of questions in this Part 2 component:

  • Some questions will ask about the structure of the protein being explored. Examples of these types of questions might be:
    • How many alpha helices are there in the structure?
    • What is amino acid #23,…and what other amino acid sidechain does it interact with?
  • Some questions will be asked about the pdb file for this protein. Links will be provided to appropriate pages displaying information for this pdb file entry on the Protein Data Bank web site. Examples of questions might include:
    • At what university do the researchers who determined this structure work?
    • What are the x,y,z coordinates of the alpha carbon of Arg56?
Part 3: Written Exam

30% of Final Score

Each team will complete an on-site exam during the competition. Exams may cover the protein topic being discussed, three-dimensional structure of related proteins, the PDB.org Molecule of the Month, or basic concepts of protein structure and biochemistry. The on-site written exam is worth 30% of a team's final score for the event.

  • Carefully reviewing the "Participant Resources" on this website is the best way to prepare for the on-site exam.
  • Participants will only have the competition time period to complete their on-site exam.