Sonification-Enhanced Lattice Model Animations for Teaching the Protein Folding Reaction

Carla Scaletti, Meredith M. Rickard, Kurt J. Hebel, Taras V. Pogorelov, Stephen A. Taylor, Martin Gruebele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The protein folding reaction is one of the most important chemical reactions in the human body. Yet, despite its importance, it is sometimes omitted from undergraduate courses due to the challenging nature of some of the underlying concepts. To help make key concepts of the protein folding reaction accessible to our undergraduate students, we implemented three, simplified 2D lattice models of various amino acid chains, and we used these models to generate sound-enhanced animations that allow students to see and hear the dynamics of protein folding in action. In spring of 2021, we used these videos in remote learning biophysics and music courses to introduce four key concepts of the folding reaction: solvation and hydrophobicity; energy and conformational entropy; funneled energy landscape; and frustration and traps. Our lattice model animations and sonifications helped provide insight into protein folding dynamics for undergraduate and graduate biophysical chemistry students, undergraduate musicians, and even authors who are experts in this field. We plan to incorporate these and additional animations, along with enhancements to the 2D lattice models, in our future courses.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1220-1230
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 8 2022


  • Multimedia-Based Learning
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Proteins/Peptides
  • Second-Year Undergraduate
  • Upper-Division Undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Education


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