Skip to Main Content

Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) - Computing cures: discovery through the lens of a computational microscope

October 25, 2017

3:00 - 4:00 PM

Building 10, Clinical Center, Masur Auditorium

The NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, colloquially known as WALS, is the highest-profile lecture program at the NIH. Lectures occur on most Wednesdays from September through June from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10 on the NIH Bethesda campus.

Each season includes some of the biggest names in biomedical and behavioral research. The goal of the WALS is to keep NIH researchers abreast of the latest and most important research in the United States and beyond. An added treat is the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture, which features top authors and other cultural icons. All speakers are nominated by the NIH community.

The full WALS lecture season agenda is available at

DeWitt Stetten, Jr. Lecture


Rommie E. Amaro, Ph.D.
Professor and Shuler Scholar
UC San Diego

Lecture summary:
Dr. Amaro applies her deep understanding of chemistry and engineering to computationally model how proteins change shape and interact. Her goal is to develop new computer simulation techniques to aid the discovery of small molecules that impact protein function and can treat diseases such as cancer. Dr. Amaro’s scientific interests lie at the intersection of computer-aided drug discovery and biophysical simulation methods. She has a long-standing interest in incorporating structural and dynamical information derived from all-atom molecular dynamics simulations in drug discovery programs, and has worked in a variety of disease areas, including infectious diseases and cancer. Her lab’s work on p53 revealed a novel druggable pocket that clarified the mechanism of action for a compound in clinical trials. This work served as the basis for the formation of a start-up company related to the development of p53 reactivation drugs, Actavalon, Inc. Dr. Amaro is a co-founder, on the scientific advisory board, and an equity shareholder in Actavalon, Inc. 

Her scientific vision revolves around the continued development of molecular dynamics simulations in drug discovery programs, particularly in expanding the range and complexity of molecular constituents represented in such simulations, and novel multiscale methods for elucidating their time dependent dynamics. She is the director of the NIH P41 National Biomedical Computation Resource and a co-director of the NIH U01 Drug Design Data Resource.

This lecture will be followed by a reception in the NIH Library. Special thanks to the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) for its support of the weekly reception. FAES is proud to co-sponsor with the NIH in hosting the Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series.

To watch the lecture online, visit Registration is not required; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Fire regulations require that every person in Masur Auditorium must have a seat. Standing in the aisles or in the back of the auditorium is not permitted. Sign language interpreters can be provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event should contact Jacqueline Roberts,, 301-594-6747, or the Federal Relay, 800-877-8339.