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(tigerlily713, Pixabay)

5 August 2018. If you want a preview of the impact artificial intelligence can make on our life and work, read our story this past week about a project at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. A bioinformatics team at the school’s pharmacy school developed a system combining machine learning and neural networks with large-scale databases to design entirely new drug molecules that meet targeted chemical properties and biological activity.

In this case, the system known as Reinforcement Learning for Structural Evolution or Release, uses reinforcement learning in a two-stage process to design drug molecules from scratch. The system seeks to harness the power of artificial intelligence to speed the design of new and more complex therapies. As a proof-of-concept, the UNC team applied the Release system to design inhibitors of a protein called Janus kinase 2, or JAK2, from a gene that codes for stimulating growth and proliferation of cells.

Here are other stories we covered last week:

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