This year I will be working on a continuation of my project from last year, which was predicting pKa of molecules found within the protein Cytochrome bc1. This project is important for the simple fact that Cytochrome is found within every animal on the planet. When the protein malfunctions it can lead to a devastating physical disorder like cardiomyapathy, which is a usually fatal muscle rotting disease.
The reason I am trying to find the pKa (acid dissociation constant) for this particular molecule is the promise it holds for future research. Because Cytochrome has different conformations in mammals than it does in bacteria, finding how to make it dissociate can provide a new anti-biotic. The pKa is the point at which hydrogen atoms start to leave the molecule. The absence of one of those hydrogens would set off a devastating chain reaction, for Cytochrome is essential in the storing of energry for organisms. If something is not able to store energy, then it is not able to live. This fact of the world provides us with all the motivation we need for the project to continue.