Are your parents bugging you about how much time you spend gaming? Why not tell them you're curing cancer?

The latest PS3 software (version 1.60) allows users to get involved in medical research by connecting to Stanford's Folding @ home(FAH) project. The FAH project links computers from all over the world to carry out simulations to study how proteins assemble themselves into their 3D shapes. If proteins assemble incorrectly, or misfold, diseases such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow, and certain cancers can result. An understanding of how these mistakes happen will help researchers look for cures.

How will getting PS3s involved help? The chip in the PS3's central processor can perform 20 to 30 times faster than the average computer, which will increase the speed of the simulations. PS3 users can even watch proteins folding onscreen and view a map showing the locations of the other computers in the FAH network.

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Candace Webb

I graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2006 with a PhD in Biology. I am now a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, studying the funky circadian rhythms of plants. Besides science, I love to write, hike, paint, bike ride, and hang out at the beach.

Une diplômée de l’Université d’Ottawa, j’ai reçu mon doctorat en biologie en 2006. Je suis présentement boursière postdoctorale à l’Université de Californie à Los Angeles, où j’étudie les rythmes circadiens des plantes. En plus des sciences, j’aime écrire, passer du temps à la plage et faire de la peinture, de la randonnée et du vélo.

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