Date of Award

Summer 8-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science


Computer Science

Major Professor

Hoque Md Tamjidul

Second Advisor

Summa Christopher

Third Advisor

Tu Shengru

Fourth Advisor

Atallah Joel

Fifth Advisor

Chen Huimin


Proteins are an important component of living organisms, composed of one or more polypeptide chains, each containing hundreds or even thousands of amino acids of 20 standard types. The structure of a protein from the sequence determines crucial functions of proteins such as initiating metabolic reactions, DNA replication, cell signaling, and transporting molecules. In the past, proteins were considered to always have a well-defined stable shape (structured proteins), however, it has recently been shown that there exist intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), which lack a fixed or ordered 3D structure, have dynamic characteristics and therefore, exist in multiple states. Based on this, we extend the mapping of protein sequence not only to a fixed stable structure but also to an ensemble of protein conformations, which help us explain the complex interaction within a cell that was otherwise obscured. The objective of this dissertation is to develop effective ab initio methods and tools for protein un/structure prediction by developing effective statistical energy function, conformational search method, and disulfide connectivity patterns predictor.

The key outcomes of this dissertation research are: i) a sequence and structure-based energy function for structured proteins that includes energetic terms extracted from hydrophobic-hydrophilic properties, accessible surface area, torsion angles, and ubiquitously computed dihedral angles uPhi and uPsi, ii) an ab initio protein structure predictor that combines optimal energy function derived from sequence and structure-based properties of proteins and an effective conformational search method which includes angular rotation and segment translation strategies, iii) an SVM with RBF kernel-based framework to predict disulfide connectivity pattern, iv) a hydrophobic-hydrophilic property based energy function for unstructured proteins, and v) an ab initio conformational ensemble generator that combines energy function and conformational search method for unstructured proteins which can help understand the biological systems involving IDPs and assist in rational drugs design to cure critical diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular diseases caused by challenging states of IDPs.


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