American Chemical Society, NICS award graduate student with supercomputing time
by Caitlin Elizabeth Rockett
PhD graduate student Eleonora Gianti of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) has been named the 2011 recipient of the Peter Kollman Graduate Award in Supercomputing. The award, which is jointly sponsored by the American Chemical Society’s Division of Computers (ASC COMP) in Chemistry and the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS), grants Gianti 200,000 processor hours on the Cray XT5 known as Kraken housed at NICS to support a chemistry-related project. Gianti, who is currently studying chemical sciences (biochemistry major), was officially honored with the award at the ACS National Meeting and Exposition in Anaheim, California on March 29. She presented a poster on her project, "Computational Methods for Developing Novel Small-molecule Stat5a/b Inhibitors for Prostate Cancer Therapy." This project is focused on developing computational techniques to aid in the process of drug design. Gianti hopes the results of this research will constitute an example of how computational chemistry and molecular modeling methods can successfully contribute to drug development. The award provides high-performance computing resources to outstanding students in the early stages of their graduate career, principally to those with chemistry related projects. It’s named after University of California-San Francisco chemistry professor Peter A. Kollman, who is predominantly recognized for his role in the development of the AMBER (Assisted Model Building with Energy Refinement) software package, which allows for the simulation of biomolecules such as proteins, lipids, metabolites and nucleic acids. Gianti obtained a laurea (in Italy, the main post-secondary academic degree, equivalent to a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree) in biological sciences at the University of Pavia in Italy. She began her work in computational chemistry and biology after earning a master’s degree in bioinformatics at the University of Milano-Bicocca. In 2009, she obtained a second master’s degree from the University of Milano-Bicocca in industrial biotechnologies, specifically bioinformation technology, before attending USP. Gianti is also a member of the West Center For Computational Chemistry and Drug Design, where she conducts research on the computational design of oncological drugs. For more information on the Peter Kollman Graduate Award in Supercomputing and other awards offered by the ACS COMP division, please visit the ASC COMP awards page.