Prof. Benjamin Samudio

Institution: American River College

Department: Chemistry

Proposed research ideas:

I would like to invite several students from American River College to work with Dr. Crivelli and her team to 1) further develop deep convolutional neural network (DCNN) models applied to drug discovery, 2) expand these models to target Zika and severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) proteases, and 3) produce a user-friendly java interface so that students can develop their own DCNN drug discovery models through web browsers. The DCNNs would be available to the public as open-source programs so that students can design and refine their ideas for medicine. The benefits of this proposed research collaboration include the following: 1) our community college students who participate directly in visits to Berkeley Lab would have an incredible opportunity to work with one of the most prominent research labs in the world thereby inspiring them tremendously, 2) our current computer-aided drug design models would be vastly improved through the incorporation of DCNNs allowing us to more efficiently filter ideas for medicine in our search for promising candidates, 3) instructors and students would be able to visually program DCNNs providing a novel venue for learning diverse subjects such as machine learning, drug discovery, computer programming, and STEM, 4) since our DCNNs and students designed ideas for medicine would be open-access and open-source, researchers could use them to improve their search for new medicines, and 5) patients would benefit since we would accelerate the search for cures especially for diseases which are under-addressed or neglected. Empowering as many students as possible to undertake research benefits everyone and I am excited at the prospect of working with Berkeley Lab and Dr. Crivelli to help make this possible.


I am a fervent advocate for open-access efforts and joining students with research opportunities. Typically, research opportunities go to a small number of students fortunate enough to have circumstances which are conducive to this work. I would like to change this situation so that ALL students have the opportunity to participate in research. meets students where undertaking research is most convenient – in the classrooms and labs which they are already attending. embeds actual research experiences into course curricula. The research is flexible and readily accessible so that students, even at the beginning of their STEM journeys, can tap into the myriad benefits of participating in purpose-driven research and project-based learning. I would like to bring artificial intelligence applied to finding new medicines into the classroom. If my students and I are selected to work with Berkeley Lab, this will go a long way to translating this cutting-edge technology into something that is accessible to students as they work to find new medicines.