Video Challenge 2023
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2023 Video Challenge for High School Students

Molecular Mechanisms of
Targeted Cancer Therapies


2023 Challenge Description

Cancer cells are normal human cells that multiply faster due to mutations in the key genes that regulate the protein division and growth. The traditional cancer chemotherapies that have been in use since the 1940s target all fast-growing and dividing cells. As cancer researchers learn more and more about the genetic mechanisms driving the disease, they design therapies that target specific proteins in cancer cells. These therapies are referred to as Targeted Cancer Therapies. Most drugs used targeted therapies are monoclonal antibodies (antibodies developed in the lab), or small molecules.

In the 2023 challenge you will research one of the examples of targeted therapies listed below:

  1. Fighting breast cancer by targeting HER2 receptor
  2. Preventing blood vessel formation in tumors by targeting VegF
  3. Interrupting cancer cell growth by targeting the G12C variant of ras protein

Then you will create a video entry that tells a coherent story that communicates the following components to the viewers:

  • A brief introduction to the concept of targeted therapy
  • A brief introduction to the structure and function of the targeted protein
  • An explanation of the molecular mechanism by which the cancer cells respond to targeted therapy

Imagine you are teaching this content to another high school student, whose overall knowledge of biology is similar to yours, but has not studied the molecular pathways leading to cell division.

In order to qualify to win the challenge, the entry must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The entry must include a molecular visualization of the target protein and the target protein/drug complex using examples from the Protein Data Bank Archive (see Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3 in the Learn section)
  • The storytelling part is no longer than 2 minutes
  • The title represents the video's story
  • Included narration is at natural speed, not artificially sped up
  • The entry doesn’t contain any copyrighted materials
  • The entry concludes with a credits section that lists the references to all research materials, citations of the PDB structures shown, and image and sound credits (can run in addition to the 2 minutes allotted for storytelling).
  • The video ends with the PDB-101 branding slide

Refer to the Rules section for more details. Refer to the Learn section for topic overview, links to further resources, and examples of topic-relevant PDB structures.

Who can participate?

All students enrolled in any high school in the United States and equivalent level home-schooled students are eligible to participate in groups comprising from 1 to 4 students. Each participant has to submit the Permission Form. Entries lacking signed permission forms will be disqualified. Refer to the Participate and Rules sections for more details.

Important Dates

Submission Opens January 17, 2023
Submission Closes April 24, 2023 at 11:59 pm PST
Judging and Voting May 2 - May 8, 2023
Results Award winners will be announced at and on May 16, 2023.


All qualifying entries will be eligible to win one or more of the following:

Judge's Award

A panel of expert judges will review the videos. All qualified entries will be judged on the following criteria (see the detailed description of each criterion):

  • Quality of Narrative Storytelling 30%
  • Quality of Science Communication 30%
  • Originality and Creativity 20%
  • Quality of Production 10%
  • Proper Accreditation 10%
Viewer's Choice Award

As voted by the viewers.

The winning entries will be recognized on,, and in an upcoming RCSB PDB Newsletter.