AI’s been tapped to classify seizures and predict whether breast cancer is likely to metastasize, but that’s far from its only medical application. In an scheduled to be presented at the International Conference on Learning Representations in May, MIT CSAIL scientists describe a system that “computationally” breaks down how segments of chained amino acids determine a protein’s function.

They believe it could be used to improve protein engineering — that is, the design of new enzymes or proteins with certain functions.

“I want to marginalize structure,” Tristan Bepler, a graduate student in the computation and biology group at CSAIL and a coauthor of the paper, said in a statement. “We want to know what proteins do, and knowing structure is important for that. But can

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