David Figueiredo Vidal
PhD candidate / Guest
I did my BSc in Biotechnology in the Federal University of Ceará, Brazil, where had my first contact with research by studying lectins. My projects at that time involved protein purification, expression, crystallization and molecular dynamics of these molecules. I then joined the International Master in Innovative Medicine, a two-year Erasmus+ program, where I was awarded the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Scholarship. During my master's, I had the opportunity of studying at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, and at the University of Uppsala, in Sweden. While in Uppsala, I worked with free-energy perturbations (FEP) on a project to benchmark QligFEP, an in-house developed tool for performing FEP calculations. My master thesis was conducted at the University of Cambridge, where I worked with generative models of molecules. The project was dedicated to investigating the score-driven behavior of these algorithms in the scenario of predictive modelling, where molecular generation is affected by the different predictive scoring functions and the molecular representation used for training. These past experiences motivated me to extend my knowledge about artificial intelligence and drug discovery and to contribute to these highly innovative fields. My current project is part of a drug repurposing and discovery multidisciplinary training network with a focus on Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) – DRUGtrain. In my early-stage researcher position I will use computational chemistry techniques to evaluate characteristics of approved drugs and non-approved compounds to assess their priority for in-vivo and in-vitro testing.