Ron  Shprints

Ron Shprints

Scholar Title

MIT EECS | Takeda Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Substrate Metric Learning: Contrastive Learning for Molecular Representations




Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Research Areas
  • Computer Science
  • Chemistry

Connor W. Coley


Learning molecular representation is a critical step in molecular machine learning that significantly influences modeling success, particularly in data-scarce situations. The concept of broadly pre-training neural networks has advanced fields such as computer vision, natural language processing, and protein engineering. However, similar approaches for small organic molecules have not achieved comparable success. In this work, we introduce a novel pre-training strategy, substrate scope contrastive learning, which learns atomic representations tailored to chemical reactivity. This method considers the grouping of substrates and their yields in published substrate scope tables as a measure of their similarity or dissimilarity in terms of chemical reactivity. We validate our pre-training approach through both intuitive visualizations and comparisons to traditional reactivity descriptors and physical organic chemistry principles. This work not only presents a chemistry-tailored neural network pre-training strategy to learn reactivity-aligned atomic representations, but also marks a first-of-its-kind approach to benefit from the human bias in substrate scope design.


SuperUROP is a fantastic opportunity to engage in research, which is something I started doing in my freshman year. Then, I became interested in using statistics to solve problems in drug discovery. I believe that theoretical and applied research are often closely related and through this project, I’d like to deepen my understanding of both. I’m looking forward to designing explainable machine-learning models to facilitate molecular discovery.

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