I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Professor Carlos Simmerling of Stony Brook University for introducing me to the world of computational biology and guiding me in my exploration within the Simmerling Laboratory. The success of my research was largely made possible by the tremendous amount of information, advice and suggestions that he provided me. With Prof. Simmerling’s inspiration and motivation, I have grown to love a field of science that was once foreign to me. Working with such a distinguished researcher has truly been an unbelievably rewarding experience.

I am also thankful for the assistance given to me from the members of the Simmerling Lab. Each member of the lab has generously provided me with his or her time and help at one time or another and has significantly aided me in reaching my goals. The amount of dedication and pride that I have witnessed in the members of the Simmerling Lab towards their work has inspired me to approach my endeavors with equal ambition and commitment. I would like to express my deep gratitude to graduate students Kevin Hauser and James Maier for not only their daily assistance in running and analyzing simulations, but also for their kindness and encouragement.

I am also grateful for the sponsorship and funding provided to me by the Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program, administered by The Academy of Applied Science. The generous stipend I received allowed me to live on campus, an experience that allowed me to focus my time on my research work and surround myself with peers sharing a love for science. 

Additionally, I would like to thank the W.T. Clarke High School research department for offering continuous support and encouragement. This program has fostered my love for science for the past three years and I will forever be grateful for the support I have received from all my teachers and advisors. 

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation for those closest to me – my family and friends. Their relentless care and love motivate me to pursue my dreams on a daily basis and have transformed me into who I am today.