Dina Sharon is eager to develop and apply computational methods in order to investigate and design proteins. As a Princeton University undergraduate, Dina conducted computational chemistry research on carbon-hydrogen bond activation in Professor John Groves' group. This research involved a collaboration with the Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalization, a national consortium of institutions funded by the Department of Energy. The experience fostered Dina's enthusiasm for using computation to help explain experimental results and to make predictions.
After obtaining her bachelor's degree in chemistry summa cum laude from Princeton, Dina conducted research on a Fulbright Grant, in Professor Sason Shaik's group at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She determined the electronic structure of a model of an artificial metalloenzyme and the mechanism by which it mediates a pharmaceutically relevant reaction. Subsequently, Dina became interested in applying her knowledge of chemistry and computer science to biochemical problems. She is currently conducting research at the company D. E. Shaw Research. Dina has been involved in a drug discovery project, using long-timescale molecular dynamics simulations to understand allosteric modulation of a signaling protein target.
Dina plans to combine her interests in reactivity, in protein structure, and in computational research by employing computational methods to study existing enzymes and design novel enzymes in a Ph.D. program. Furthermore, she hopes to enhance the accuracy and speed of computational techniques used to study enzymes. Designed enzymes could be used themselves as therapeutics, or accomplish reactions that traditional synthetic methods cannot effectively carry out, thus facilitating the syntheses of pharmaceutical compounds.
Dina was born in New Jersey.