Check out the latest in our Executive Interview Series, and learn how your unused computer power can fight COVID-19
In our Partnership Executive Interview Series, we explore the ingenious and groundbreaking science being fostered by our incredible partners. Our latest episode shines a light on disease research project [email protected], which applies the unused computational power donated by volunteers to create a supercomputer capable of calculating enormous and essential disease-fighting problems. [email protected] Director and Co-Founder Dr. Gregory Bowman talks about the project’s origin, its boom during the pandemic, and what exactly protein folding is with Avast CTO Michal Pěchouček.
Dr. Bowman helped found [email protected] 20 years ago. In order to appreciate the distributed computer project’s mission, it’s important to understand protein folding. Proteins are strings of molecules that are responsible for everyday life functions – contracting muscles, sensing light, digesting food, etc. One bizarre function of proteins is that they can form themselves through a process called folding. This is when the string of molecules reshapes itself, thus creating a new protein with new functions.
Scientists don’t yet fully understand the mechanics of protein folding. What defines the dominant part of the molecular structure? How does the folding physically occur? And after a protein folds, does it still have movable parts? These are only some of the unanswered questions driving researchers, and the closer we come to the answers, the closer we get to solving some major medical problems. Viruses are proteins, and the drugs and vaccines that fight viruses c ..