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Samuel Cho

Assistant Professor, Physics & Computer Science

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Expertise
  • Computational biophysics
  • Molecular dynamics simulations
  • GPU-based programming
  • Protein and RNA folding
  • Biomolecular assembly
  • Molecular machines
Current Research
  • Protein folding kinetics
  • RNA folding mechanisms
  • Protein-RNA machines: ribosome assembly
  • Protein-nanoparticle interactions
  • GPU-based MD simulations
Teaching
  • Biophysics
  • Data structures
  • GPU programming
Education
  • PhD, University of California, San Diego
  • BS, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Selected Publications
  • “Molecular Mechanism for the Entropic Stabilization of Proteins by TMAO,” Journal of Physical Chemistry, October 2011.
  • “Folding of Human Telomerase RNA Pseudoknot using ion-jump and temperature quench simulations,” Journal of the American Chemical Society, November 2011.
  • “Fibrinogen unfolding mechanisms are not too much of a stretch,” Structure, November 2011.
  • “Assembly mechanisms of RNA pseudoknots are determined by the stabilities of the constituent secondary structures,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Oct. 2009.
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With expertise in both biophysics and computer science, Sam Cho has a unique perspective on biomolecular research of cellular processes: he understands how human cells work at the molecular level, and he can manipulate cutting-edge technology to create simulations that deepen that understanding for scientists everywhere.

In his recent research into enzymes that aid tumor growth, Cho and his colleagues used computer simulations to understand how RNA functions. What he found – new, in-depth views of how that RNA helps tumor cells grow – has opened a path for developing treatments that target cancerous tumors. Now, he’s working with students to use the graphic processing units in video gaming technology to make this work even quicker.

Samuel Cho on:

using video game technology to simulate cell function …

“We have hijacked the same technology that creates the detailed gaming scenes on your computer screen to perform molecular dynamic simulations. If it wasn’t for gamers who kept buying these graphics cards, the prices wouldn’t have dropped, and I couldn’t have used them for science.”

the importance of RNA function …

“If we understand how the human telomerase enzyme performs its function, we can better target treatments. We actually don’t want this enzyme to function. It’s in every cancerous cell. If we can limit its function, eventually, it could be part of a cure for cancer.”

teaching vs. research …

“We want our teaching to also inform our research. By including our students in our research, our research performance becomes better and our students become more engaged.”