Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Research: computer modelling and organic synthesis
Travis Dudding has not one, but two state-of-the-art crossover vehicles. But you won’t find them parked in his garage. They’re in his lab.
As Hermes and Poseidon, the super-computers in Dudding’s lab, quietly hum away solving complex chemistry problems, they are enabling a cross-disciplinary approach to chemistry that is solving mysteries that have plagued chemists for decades.
Dudding’s work combines the field of synthetic chemistry with computer science, mathematics, biology and physics. This unique approach allows his team to map out chemical reactions using computer models to efficiently determine the correct course of action before stepping foot in a synthetic laboratory.
“Modelling allows us to foresee results and shortens the number of steps required for development of new technologies,” says Dudding. “We can use computer-generated, quantum-chemical models to predict how reactions will occur, and how the molecules will interact with one another.”
These calculations can be so complex that they can take weeks for the system to compute. Dudding routinely fields calls from researchers across the globe with requests for collaborative assistance from his team.
The new research facility in the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex will provide Dudding’s super-computers with additional power, allowing them to operate at full capacity and solve even more problems. In addition to this enhanced capability, the CFHBRC will offer Dudding’s team better synthetic laboratories, more space for research and enhanced opportunities for student interaction and integration with other research groups.