Campus Lab Members Portray Folding Protein Process in NIH Video Contest

Undergraduate Alexandra Walls (center) plays the protein

Combining interpretive dance, biochemistry and the cinema arts, members of professor Lila Gierasch’s lab illustrate the folding of a protein in a bacterial cell in a video competing in a National Institutes of Health online contest. Gierasch and her team are appealing for campus votes in the competition, which ends May 9.

Fifty-seven videos are entered in the competition and judging is based on the number of “likes” each one receives on YouTube. The winners will be shown at major event honoring the 10th anniversary of NIH’s Common Fund, which provides a strategic and nimble approach to address key roadblocks in biomedical research that impede basic scientific discovery and its translation into improved human health. As a recipient of a grant from the Common Fund, Gierasch was invited to submit a video.

The video features undergraduate Alexandra Walls as the protein, graduate student Karan Hingorani as the ribosome and postdoctoral fellow Abhay Thakur as the trigger factor. Also appearing are postdoctoral fellows Wenli Meng, Ben Yang and Weiwei Kuo, research associate professor Anne Gershenson, graduate students Joseph Tilitsky and Kristine Pobre and undergraduates Lauren Prentis, Nicholas Fandino and Ryan Pepi.

The video is No. 23 at