Past Event

Visualizing Molecular Biology: Schrödinger, Protein Data Bank & More

April 9, 2021
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Online Event

Join us for a webinar about ideas, opportunities, benefits, and techniques for creating visuals that have an impact. Open to Columbia faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and WeConnect communicators. Columbia Art Director Nicoletta Barolini introduces Abigail Emtage, Senior Scientist II from Schrödinger, Professor David Goodsell  from Scripps Research Institute and Rutgers University, Professor Tal Danino of Columbia University, and Founder & CEO from Digizyme, Gaël McGill for four presentations.

See the complete events schedule and the panalest bios here

Welcome & Introduction
From: 1:00 pm to 1:05 pm
Nicoletta Barolini
Art Director, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Molecular Visualization and Ligand Design with Schrödinger
From: 1:05 pm to 1:30 pm
Abigail Emtage
Schrödinger, Senior Scientist II, Education Specialist

Art and Science of the Cellular Mesoscale
From: 1:30 pm to 1:50 pm
David Goodsell 
Professor of Computational Biology at the Scripps Research Institute and Research Professor at Rutgers State University

5 minute intermission

Bacteria As a New Medium for Art & Science 
From: 1:50 pm to 2:15 pm
Tal Danino
Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Capturing the SARS Spike in motion: Visualizing a molecular contortionist
From: 2:15 pm to 2:45 pm
Gaël McGill
Founder & CEO, Digizyme Inc. Director of Molecular Visualization, Harvard Medical School
Co-author & Digital Director, E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth

Questions & Answers and Wrap-Up
From: 2:45 pm to 3:00 pm

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Schrodinger, Senior Scientist II and Education Specialist

Presenting: Molecular Visualization and Ligand Design with Schrödinger

As part of the Schrödinger Education Team, Dr. Abi Emtage works to convey key computational chemistry concepts by providing Schrödinger software training for customers, colleagues, and via science outreach projects. Dr. Emtage is a registered pharmacist, having completed a Masters in Pharmacy, followed by a Ph.D. in computational and medicinal chemistry, at the University of Nottingham, UK. She then moved to Malaysia to take up the position of Assistant Professor and later Programme Director for the University of Nottingham's internationally recognized and accredited 2+2 Pharmacy program. Dr. Emtage’s research during and since her Ph.D. has predominantly focused on G Protein-Coupled Receptor modeling, docking, and molecular dynamics simulation in order to better understand structure-activity relationships. Dr. Emtage will in the future be based in Schrödinger's San Diego office, but is grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to start working remotely from the UK. Abi is excited to be involved in the delivery of new online learning materials and courses such as Schrodinger’s  Introduction to Molecular Modeling in Drug Discovery course, and this past year she has been developing a course covering High-Throughput Virtual Screening which will go live in the coming months.


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Professor of Computational Biology at the Scripps Research Institute and Research Professor at Rutgers State University

Presenting: Art and Science of the Cellular Mesoscale

David Goodsell currently holds a dual appointment as Professor of Computational Biology at the Scripps Research Institute and Research Professor at Rutgers State University. He divides his time between research and science outreach. Dr. Goodsell's research centers on methods for computational structural biology and their application to drug design, protein function prediction, and modeling of the molecular structure of entire cells. His current work includes the development of AutoDock, the most widely-used computational docking program in the scientific community, and CellPack, a new method for creating three-dimensional atomic models of large portions of cells. He is applying these methods to HIV biology and structure and function of bacterial cells. In his science outreach work, he has developed new visual methods for exploring molecular and cellular structure. This includes three decades of work on depiction of the cellular mesoscale, and development of non-photorealistic rendering methods for molecular and cellular subjects. He creates outreach materials for the RCSB Protein Data Bank, including a popular monthly column that presents molecular structure and function for general audiences. Dr. Goodsell has written four general-interest books on molecular biology, cell biology and bionanotechnology, and has collaborated with science museums, filmmakers, educators and popular authors on the creation of educational and outreach materials.


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Professor at Columbia University in the Biomedical Engineering Department, Director of Synthetic Biological Systems Lab.

Presenting: Bacteria as a new medium for art & science 

Tal Danino is an Associate Professor at Columbia University in the Biomedical Engineering Department where he directs the interdisciplinary Synthetic Biological Systems Lab. He engineers some of the smallest forms of life, in the form of “programmable” bacteria, and transforms living microorganisms like bacteria and cancer cells from the laboratory into bioart works using various forms of media. He is the recipient of awards such as the NSF CAREER Award, TED Fellow, Era of Hope Scholar Award, CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR Award, and Pershing Sohn Square Prize. His works have been exhibited at several museums and galleries including the Zürcher Gallery, Da Vinci Creative Biennial at Seoul Foundation of Arts and Culture, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The High Museum in Atlanta, and Tel Aviv Museum of Art.


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Founder & CEO, Digizyme Inc. Director of Molecular Visualization, Harvard Medical School
Co-author & Digital Director, E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth

Presenting: Capturing the SARS Spike in motion; Visualizing a molecular contortionist

Gaël McGill is faculty and Director of Molecular Visualization at the Center for Molecular and Cellular Dynamics at Harvard Medical School where his teaching and research focuses on visualization design and assessment methods in science education.  He is also founder & CEO of Digizyme, Inc. ( a firm dedicated to the visualization and communication of science.  Dr. McGill recently co-authored and served as digital director for E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth iBooks biology textbook.  He is the creator of the scientific visualization online community portal (originally, the Molecular Maya (mMaya) software toolkit and has contributed to leading Maya and ZBrush textbooks for Wiley/SYBEX Publishing. Dr. McGill was also a board member of the Vesalius Trust and remains an advisor to several biotechnology and device companies.  After his B.A. summa cum laude in Biology, Music, and Art History from Swarthmore College, and Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Sandoz Pharmaceuticals fellow, Dr. McGill completed his postdoctoral work at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute studying tumor cell apoptosis and melanoma. 


Contact Information

Cassandra Nathan