Using Computer Science to solve Cancer

Dr. Woody Sherman, CSO, Silicon Therapeutics

Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) students don’t shy away from big problems.  They use the strength of the team and the broad range of skill sets across disciplines to take risks and think boldly.   


So, it is fitting that a like-minded, world-famous expert in computational drug design, Dr. Woody Sherman, was the guest-speaker facilitating the program’s Fall 2019 Integrative Science Workshop.  Dr. Sherman’s company, Silicon Therapeutics, does cancer research using an integrative approach combining physics, chemistry, biochemistry, and biology -- all starting with high-performance computing of protein-drug interactions to design more effective drugs. 

The workshop entitled, "Mission Impossible: Curing Cancer Without Chemotherapy", applied the iCons approach to problem solving, as students used teams to discuss the following questions: 

Fall workshop student discussion

iCons Method Step 1: What is the societal problem of Cancer?   

iCons Method Step 2: What is the scientific problem of Cancer?  

iCons Method Step 3: How should we approach research on new solutions for Cancer?  

iCons Method Step 4: What research is being pursued at Silicon Therapeutics?  


Dr. Sherman discussed the scientific angle being pursued at Silicon Therapeutics -- stimulating the innate immune system to battle cancer. 


Following the workshop, students asked questions ranging over a wide array of topics, including venture funding for research, all the way to virtual reality to understand the outputs of the computer simulations.  

All in all, it was a great and historic evening for the UMass iCons Program.