Mathieu Montes is a professor at Conservatoire National des Arts et des Métiers (CNAM) in Paris, FRANCE. After a PhD (2007) in Université Paris Descartes, where he worked on the development and applications of drug-design and in silico screening techniques, Mathieu became assistant professor in molecular modelling and the head of a drug-design group at the CNAM (2009). There he developed UDock, together with Guillaume Levieux, a gamified interactive protein docking software.
Mathieu has been appointed professor at CNAM (2015), where he keeps working at the interplay between structural biology, chemo-informatics and drug-design. He accepted to answer a few questions…
1) Can you introduce your software in a few words?
UDock is an intuitive, interactive and real-time protein-protein docking engine developed using videogames interaction techniques.
2) Regarding the development model of your software, who is in charge of the development/maintenance/support?
The main developer of UDock is Dr. Guilaume Levieux from the CNAM computer science lab (CEDRIC). We are recruiting for next march additional developers (engineer and/or postdoc) for Udock and related projects (feel free to contact us if interested – firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com)
3) In which regards does your software fall within the field of integrative modelling?
UDock can be used as an exploration tool to test different geometries/orientations and identify suboptimal solutions prior using more complex approaches/force-fields. It is a good complementary tool with a unique user-centered approach and real-time manipulation to get an insight of your system at the beginning of a project.
For teaching purposes, UDock is easy to access, easy to understand and immediately usable. Real-time simulation is very useful for students as they understand by trial and error the principles of force-fields, protein interactions and protein-docking.
4) Can you share with us an example in which the use of your software was key to answer a scientific question?
We are still at the prototype stage and we are hiring new people in the team to go to the software stage! Due to its original approach, our tool will be usable as an upstream complement to existing methods/pipelines. Its simplicity and usability allowed 11 years old children to produce accurate geometries (less than 2Å) of a protein-protein complex during a scientific exhibition with the first beta release two years ago.