Matt Raymond receives Beyster Fellowship to support research on nanoscale particle design

Raymond’s research has the potential to aid treatment of drug-resistant bacterial infections.
Headshot of Matt Raymond, a white man with short brown hair and a beard, against a dark gray background.
Matt Raymond

Matt Raymond, a doctoral student in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), was awarded a J. Robert Beyster Computational Innovation Graduate Fellowship to support his research using machine learning approaches to design nanoparticles that interact with biological systems. Raymond is especially interested in communities of microorganisms, called biofilms, with the ultimate goal to develop treatments for drug-resistant medical conditions.

“My research simplifies nanodrug research by developing machine-learning-based tools to elucidate nanoscale interactions and identify relationships between nanoscale structures and their empirical properties,” he said.

The surface of our skin and the inside of our digestive systems are coated with biofilms that are often beneficial to our health. However, the role of biofilms in the human body can turn sinister, enabling chronic, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections such as MRSA.

Raymond has collaboratively developed a machine learning model, trained on interactions between proteins, that could predict the interactions between potential nanodrugs and critical proteins in harmful biofilms. The research was published in Nature Computational Science and featured as the journal’s cover story. He has also developed a second model that identifies features that are predictive for many physical properties of both nanoparticles and drug-like molecules.

A golden, twisted ladder-like nanoparticle structure surrounds the white, globular mass of a protein. The background is blurred black and gold.
An artistic rendition of a known protein-nanoparticle interaction, courtesy of Matt Raymond. A cropped version was used as the cover of Nat. Computer. Sci., Vol 3, Issue 5, May 2023.

Raymond’s work has the potential to make the process of designing nanodrugs more accessible and efficient. 

“This is a first step toward a machine learning approach for generative nanodrug modeling, which will empower researchers to forgo filtering-based methods and design novel, targeted nanomedicines ab initio,” Raymond explained.

The J. Robert Beyster Computational Innovation Graduate Fellows Program was established by Dr. J. Robert (BSE M ’45, BSE P ’45, MSE Phys ’47, PhD ‘50) and Betty Beyster to support Michigan Engineering PhD students who are performing cutting edge research using high performance computing to improve society.

My goal is to solve real-world societal challenges that are too difficult for any one discipline to tackle on its own.

Matt Raymond

“My goal is to solve real-world societal challenges that are too difficult for any one discipline to tackle on its own,” Raymond said. “I’m exceptionally grateful to the Beysters for their support. This fellowship will allow me to focus my research efforts on generative nanoparticle design, which I believe to be a promising and fascinating research area.”

Raymond is co-advised by ECE Professor Clayton Scott and Mechanical Engineering Professor Angela Violi. Violi is also an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and has a courtesy appointment in ECE.