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Professor uses VR to provide UTSA students with a fresh perspective on proteins

Francis Yoshimoto, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas at San Antonio, is exposing the students of his Biochemistry II laboratory to a new mode of learning by utilising virtual reality headsets to view and examine protein complexes. Yoshimoto’s students arranged the virtual reality (VR) headsets at the VizLab location of the Department of Computer Science.

Students used conventional computer applications to produce pictures of proteins, including Chimera After that, they proceeded to the very same section of the protein with the help of ProteinVR, which is a web-based molecular visualization application enabling users to observe proteins through a virtual reality headset. It offers a very different view of something that the students might have come across before.

The 3D VR headsets demonstrated to be an effective approach to teaching pupils about protein sequences. The teaching mode gave them a unique and immersive educational experience. Students may adjust their viewing angles of the protein and travel to and fro with the Oculus hand controller’s joystick whilst donning the ProteinVR viewer with the Oculus headset. Students might even go inside the protein whilst wearing the headset. They could just swivel their necks whilst wearing the headgear and keep moving to and fro with the controller if they wanted to get a completely different view of the protein.

Yoshimoto said that he had been checking out proteins on his computer screen for more than a decade. According to him, donning a VR headset whilst essentially being inside a protein was very intriguing and gave everyone a great experience.

The biomedical industry relies on virtual reality technology for achieving a number of outcomes. For instance, the technology has been utilised for helping pharmaceutical companies develop new drugs and creating new medicinal ranges. VR technology training and familiarisation techniques have helped students of Yoshimoto utilise the skills picked up in their classes in ways that help them create a successful career in the domain of biomedical research. The undertaking represents the commitment of UTSA towards programmes that help students get a grip on vital skills that are usually required professionally. These are also skills that can lead to better classroom outcomes and even after students graduate.

The project has been made possible through collaboration between Yoshimoto and his instructors at the lab. The unit collaborated with the Research Computing Support Group of the university to create the virtual reality based learning experience for students. Their efforts have created something of value that can lead the way for improved understanding among students

University of Texas at San Antonio or UTSA, a Tier One research institution, is also a Hispanic Serving Institution that specialises in several aspects such as health, social-economic growth, and the future of the cyber world. The institution intends to push forward as an example of success for students, and cement its reputation as a leading research university.

Stay tuned for further developments regarding this VR teaching technology.

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