Chunking

Slide2Being visually-impaired means you need to depend on your memory more than a sighted researcher. If you’re not sure about something, you can’t just glance over to check.  

Memorizing things like large protein structures can be very daunting. I approached this by dividing the protein into manageable chunks first, and then gradually adding more details. The protein that I studied for my thesis had twelve identical parts. Distinguishing the different sections by color with Visual Molecular Dynamics allowed me to gain a better understanding of how the pieces fit with one another. When I had a general idea of how this protein looked, I was able to slowly fill in finer detail. Using play-dough models, I was eventually able to become so familiar with the placement of different structures in the protein. In the end I had nearly the entire peptide sequence memorized so well that I could identify the location of almost any amino acid residue.

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