Mengmeng Zhu Profile Picture

Mengmeng Zhu

Student Activities Coordinator


Biological Sciences


Dr. Daisuke Kihara

Research Title:

Protein Ligand-Binding Pocket Classification Using Deep Learning

Research Description:

Proteins are the fundamental units in life forms. Most proteins function via binding to ligands, therefore the study of ligand-binding proteins is critically important not only in general biomedical research but also in application field such as drug discovery. In a protein, the functional site for binding a ligand is the binding pocket. Pockets binding different ligand species vary significantly. Even for binding the same ligand species, different pockets still vary a lot. Nevertheless, scientists have long been hoping to predict the potential binding ligand for a given protein pocket. Computationally, protein pockets are 3D structures and can be represented as multi-channel 3D images. Therefore, I am employing deep learning, which is highly successful in 2D image object recognition, to build a framework to predict the binding ligands of protein pockets.

About Me:

I joined PULSe (Purdue University Interdisciplinary Life Science Ph.D. program) in 2014, and after 4 rotations during first year, I decided to choose bioinformatics as my Ph.D. career and joined Dr. Disuke Kihara's lab. The more I worked on this field, the more I was fascinated by the critical role computation plays in life sciences, especially in dealing with big data, the amount of which nowadays increases exponentially in the field of life sciences. It is very exciting to work on the cutting edges of both fields and combine computation tools and biology domain knowledge together to gain novel, interdisciplinary insights.


  • CIGSO Executive Officer, Student Activities Coordinator (2016-2017)

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