Moradi Receives NIH Outstanding Investigator Award

Mahmoud Moradi

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Mahmoud Moradi

Chemistry professor Mahmoud Moradi, whose research focuses on computer simulations of the coronavirus and other diseases, has received an Outstanding Researcher Award from the National Institutes of Health.

The Outstanding Researcher Awards support individual scientists who have demonstrated outstanding research achievement and fundamental contributions to their field. The grants can be used for any project of the researcher’s choice that falls within the mission of the granting institute.

Moradi, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, will receive $1.6 million over five years from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Moradi will use these funds to develop, adapt and refine improved sampling and trajectory finding algorithms to answer important biological and biomedical questions. Sampling and enhanced trajectory search algorithms are two techniques for studying molecular dynamics simulation. Both benefit from recent advances in structural biology and computationally intensive technology.

The goal of the project is to develop robust sampling and analysis protocols to study functionally relevant conformational changes of various proteins, from fibroblast growth factor to coronavirus spike protein. Computer models will allow researchers to characterize conformational changes at the molecular level, which could deepen our understanding of diseases and design treatments for them.

Moradi has previously received attention for developing computer simulations of the behavior of SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins prior to fusion with human cellular receptors. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

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