Protein Puzzles App

Raised toward our $30,000 Goal
2 Donors
days left
Project ends on December 10, at 09:00 AM CST
Project Owners

Protein Puzzles: Teaching structural biology to citizen scientists


An anonymous donor has generously offered to match dollar for dollar for the first $30,000 donated. Every donation will provide twice the impact!


Protein Puzzles was designed in the Taylor Lab to help assemble protein puzzle pieces together after realizing the shear volume of puzzles (or structures) being solved using his innovative approach to gather them. After acquiring large number of structures of protein complexes within a cell, there is so much computer power required to put together all of the protein pieces. Our data provides an envelope for the shape for all of the pieces to be assembled into. The importance of this problem cannot be overestimated. As we have seen from the coronavirus pandemic, understanding the structure of the spike protein of the virus, has led to a groundbreaking vaccine. 

Our Goal

We aim to design a Protein Puzzles app to crowdsource “solving” of the arrangement of various proteins using distance and shape clues as a guide. The solutions can then be used by my lab to study important biological processes. We have developed a beta-version of the app, which is available for download here: We are fundraising to support further development of this game. These funds will go towards developing educational support, including tutorials for understanding the puzzle pieces and information for assembling them and also to explain the biological significance these protein complexes for classroom use! The funds will be added to support leaderboards to challenge players. The funding will also allow us to include the addition of puzzles involved in COVID disease and a monthly challenge. Each month one of the puzzles will be selected for experimental validation in my laboratory.  

Choose a giving level


Structural Biologist

You can consider yourself a structural biologist now!


Your very own puzzle

You will have supported the development of a complete puzzle.


A puzzle named after you!

We will name a puzzle after you.

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