I wanted to continue the series of introducing FAH team members. Greg Bowman has been a key figure in FAH the last few years, especially in methods and software development and its applications to protein folding (eg see the list of software he's made available on Simtk.org).
Between the second and third grades I lost most of my vision due to a protein misfolding disease called juvenile macular degeneration (JMD). At the time, I was too young to understand the full implications of my disorder; however, they became abundantly clear during middle school. I soon learned that JMD is the result of a few point mutations in a key gene I’d inherited from my parents and, therefore, took a keen interest in exciting developments in molecular biology like the cloning of Dolly the sheep as they pointed to a means of curing diseases like my own.
A pressing challenge was then to discover how to make a contribution to molecular biology, given that performing laboratory experiments is extremely challenging with poor vision. Fortunately, I developed a passion for computer science and mathematical modeling during high school and realized that these skills could be brought to bear on biological problems. To prepare myself for a career in biological computing, I completed a major in computer science and minors in biomedical engineering and chemistry at Cornell University, where I also began basic research on protein folding.
Now I am performing full-time research on protein folding and misfolding in the Pande lab. While I have not been able to tackle JMD directly at this point, I have developed methods that will be critical for doing so and begun working on other protein misfolding diseases like Alzheimer’s.