Dr. Alberto Perez has been awarded a prestigious NSF CAREER award from the Chemical Theory, Models and Computational Methods program in the Division of Chemistry. The award will fund the development of new computational methods to deepen our understanding of nucleic acids. Computational structural studies of nucleic acids have been challenged by nucleic acid flexibility and strong electrostatic interactions. The new methods will lead to mechanistic and quantitative understanding of molecular recognition and supramolecular interactions, with important applications in understanding gene regulation, nanotechnology and nanosensors to name a few. Within the scope of this award, Dr. Perez will develop courses and workshops that introduce molecular modeling to our community through immersive virtual reality technology. Students will learn about proteins and nucleic acids through an inquiry-based approach that will enable them to develop STEM related skills.