Do your students interact and engage in class?” asked Dr Vasudeva Rao Avupati (also known as Dr Vasu, featured in the main photo above) when I wanted him to conduct a workshop on AI in drug discovery for dental students. The workshop was the third in series of hands-on workshop in the Data Science and Analytics Course (DSA). I understood at the end of the workshop, the meaning of Dr Vasu’s question. The workshop was filled with laughter, squeals, questions and clapping. Dr Vasu had immense energy and he multiplied it from the students’ energy. I was more than satisfied when one student commented, “One of the best in the course!”
Drug discovery is an important field relevant to all health professions. We are always improving and repurposing the different medications available, let it be natural or synthetic. The recent pandemic was a perfect example where we were scrambling for drugs to manage a disease which had our least understanding. Dr Vasu used this example when he drove the relevance of drug discovery in dentistry.
A lesson plan was provided to the students. Dr Vasu helped the students navigate identification of receptors for drugs in Protein Plus®. We started with COX-2 receptors and identified pockets for Ibuprofen. Using JAMDA, we identified other drugs with the least binding energy as close to Ibuprofen. The big question came into our minds, what better medicines are required for more effective and efficient dental care?
Interprofessional learning is important in any discipline for us to know that collaborative work is possible. This topic from pharmacy delivered by a pharmacy lecturer to dental students managing patient care was a wonderful experience.
Reach out through your comments and offer collaboration in the course. This will enhance this course and of course, you will leave more learned from our amazing learners. Dr Shaju@IMU conducts the DSA course for IMU Bachelor of Dental Surgery (IMU) (BDS) programme.