Molecular Interactions Using New Technology: A Virtual Reality Gaming Platform to Visualize and Manipulate Molecules

The representation of complex biomolecular structures and interactions is a difficult challenge across life sciences. Researchers and students use unintuitive 2D representations to gain an intuitive understanding of 3D space and molecular interactions. Since this is cumbersome for complex structures, such as protein-ligand interactions, several solutions have been proposed to help elucidate the 3D space. However, these representations are often static or do not fully leverage the interactivity that modern computing systems can provide. Our solution, Molecular Interaction using New Technology (MINT), is the first “gaming” platform to effectively represent and manipulate structures in 3D space using virtual reality while simultaneously scoring biomolecular interactions in real-time. Utilizing this combination of manipulation and real-time feedback, MINT provides scientists with an intuitive and effective method for drug discovery. We hope the combination of an intuitive interface with a powerful chemistry backend will expand molecular understanding and drug discovery for scientists and non-scientists.