Computing a Cure for HIV: 9 Ways Supercomputers Help Scientists Understand and Treat the Virus

June 20, 2014

The Huffington Post featured nine examples of how scientists are fighting HIV by using massive computing power supplied by the National Science Foundation. Aaron Dubrow, media officer for the NSF, describes three science gateways that have played a role in these efforts:

  • Example 1: A model of how the HIV shell interacts with drugs and host proteins at the atomic level has been entered in the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics Protein Data Bank, a repository for the three-dimensional structural data of large biological molecules.
  • Example 4: FoldIt, an online puzzle video game that engages citizen scientists, has helped solve the real-world problem of how a crucial protein-cutting enzyme folded and how it is structured. Through FoldIt, an experimental research project supported by NSF and developed by the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science in collaboration with the UW Department of Biochemistry, researchers were also able to identify target drugs to neutralize the enzyme.
  • Example 9: A tenth-grade high-school student in Massachusetts used the CIPRES (CyberInfrastructure for Phylogenetic Research) science gateway to create a map and timeline that showed when HIV arrived in the Americas and where and when HIV spread. CIPRES is a public resource developed by the San Diego Supercomputer Center and supported by NSF, and it helps any person interested in evolutionary relationships to study virtually every species on Earth.

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This project is funded by the National Science Foundation under award number ACI-1547611. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.