2015 Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Event

Theme: Editing the Human Genome

Protein Modeling is an event developed by the MSOE Center for BioMolecular Modeling for the National Science Olympiad. This event challenges students to explore protein structure and function by creating 3-dimensional models of proteins based on the coordintes from the Protein Data Bank archive.

This site offers learning materials and model building guide - all you need to succeed in the 2015 Protein Modeling Event. Be sure to also look at the event creator's site.

Protein Modeling News
June 2015
Science Olympiad National Protein Modeling Results

Congratulations to the team from Harriton High School, who earned top honors in the event.

Read the whole story

February 2015
NJ Science Olympiad Protein Modeling Results

RCSB PDB judged more than 100 protein models made by high school students.

Read the whole story

January 2015
January Molecule of the Month features Cascade and CRISPR

CRISPR-Cas is an adaptive immune system in bacteria and archaea that stores information about viruses present at any given time and provides the weapons to destroy them.

The 2015 on-site national model will feature parts of CRISPR Cas 9 protein and will be based on the PDB entry 4un3

December 2014
December Molecule of the Month features TAL Effectors

TAL effectors, short for transcription activator-like effectors are sequence-reading proteins that are being used to create the tools for genome editing, as a possible way to correct genetic diseases.

The 2015 State onsite model will represent Transcription Activator Like Effector Nuclease Proteins (TALE) and will be based on the PDB structure 3v6t.

2015 Protein Modeling Event Overview

Part 1: Pre-Build Model

40% of a team's final score

Before the event:

  1. Build a model of the Nuclease Domain found in PDB entry 2fok, adding details that represent the important parts of the structure.
  2. Write a brief abstract on a 5" x 3" card that describes your model and how it illustrates the function of the structure.

  • To build your model, use a purchased Mini-Toober kit, or found materials of your choosing e.g. KwikTwist tie-down ropes.
  • Use your model at each level of the competition (invitational, regional, state and national) and take your pre-build model home after each event.
  • The pre-build model along with the description must be impounded prior to the beginning of the event (usually the morning of the event).
  • More details in the Levels of the Competition section.

Part 2: On-Site Model

30% of a team's final score

Build selected regions of a specified protein.

  1. Invitational: Designed Zinc Finger-like Proteins 1psv
  2. Regional: Zinc Finger Protein 1mey
  3. State: TAL Effectors 3v6t
  4. National: CRISPR Cas 9 4un3

  • You will find out on-site, which portion of the designated protein you will be required to build.
  • The Mini-Toober and any additional materials for the on-site model will be provided to each team at the time of the competition.
  • You will only have the competition time period to complete your model.
  • You will not be able to take the model home after the event.

Part 3: On-Site Exam

30% of a team's final score

Answer questions about the modeled protein regarding

  • structure
  • function
  • importance
  • history


Exams may cover the protein topic being discussed, three-dimensional structure of related proteins, the PDB.org Molecule of the Month, or basic concepts of protein structure and biochemistry.