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View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of XRDC 2019 sessions by topic and format. With XRDC 2019’s Session Scheduler, you can build your schedule in advance and access it during the show. Sessions do fill up, so please arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat.

A VR Tool for Interactive Pharmaceutical Design at the Nanoscale

Mike O'Connor  (Research Associate, University of Bristol)

David Glowacki  (Royal Society Research Fellow, University of Bristol)

Location: Healthcare & Enterprise Stage

Date: Tuesday, October 15

Time: 2:00 pm - 2:40 pm

Topic: Healthcare

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Designing new pharmaceutical drugs is an incredibly complicated task costing private companies and research institutions millions. To tackle the health challenges of tomorrow, healthcare industry needs new tools that enable researchers to rapidly design new candidates without the cost of physical experiments.

In this talk, Mike O'Connor and David Glowacki from University of Bristol present Narupa, a virtual reality drug design tool. The open source software combines high-performance computing with rigorous physics simulations to allow researchers to visualize and interact with the nanoscopic world, and enable them to intuitively reason about complex molecular structures and design new drugs at the nanoscale.

O'Connor and Glowacki present some of the unique challenges of working with virtual reality for pharmaceutical and nanoscale design, ranging from cloud computing and machine learning to the design of new data gloves, and the aesthetics and sonification of an invisible microscopic world.


Nanotech and pharma research involves studying domains which cannot be perceived with human senses. As such, XR technologies, combined with cloud computing and open source standards, have transformative potential at the cutting edge of nanotech and pharma. Increasing the impact of XR in nanotech and pharma will require close contact between XR software/hardware engineers, and nanotech researchers.

Intended Audience

The presentation will be accessible to all and aims to showcase a novel application of XR technologies. The presentation will be of particular interest to those a background in pharmaceuticals, or with an interest in simulations, machine learning or high-performance computing