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Researchers Race to Develop Antiviral Weapons to Fight the Pandemic Coronavirus


An arsenal of potential treatments takes aim at proteins that are key to the virus’ life cycle.  In March 2020, as the full scope of the COVID-19 pandemic was coming into view, Jen Nwankwo and colleagues turned a pair of artificial intelligence (AI) tools against SARS-CoV-2. One newly developed AI program, called SUEDE, digitally screens all known drug-like compounds for likely activity against biomolecules thought to be involved in the disease. The other, BAGEL, predicts how to build inhibitors to known targets. The two programs searched for compounds able to block human enzymes that play essential roles in enabling the virus to infect its host cells. While SUEDE sifted through 14 billion compounds in just a few hours and spat out a hit, BAGEL created equally fast new leads.

 

Read the full article at: www.sciencemag.org

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Can Bacteria Make Stronger Armor, Cars and Airplanes?


USC researchers harness the power of living organisms to make materials that are strong, tolerant and resilient.

 

Biological systems can harness their living cells for growth and regeneration, but engineering systems cannot. Until now. Qiming Wang and researchers at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering are harnessing living bacteria to create engineering materials that are strong, tolerant, and resilient. The research is published in Advanced Materials.

 

“The materials we are making are living and self-growing,” said Wang, the Stephen Schrank Early Career Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). “We have been amazed by the sophisticated microstructures of natural materials for centuries, especially after microscopes were invented to observe these tiny structures. Now we take an important step forward: We use living bacteria as a tool to directly grow amazing structures that cannot be made on our own.”

 

 #abcdesRead the full article at: viterbischool.usc.edu

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Sea-level rise in the 20th century was the fastest in 2,000 years


The rate of sea-level rise in the 20th century along much of the U.S. Atlantic coast was the fastest in 2,000 years, and southern New Jersey had the fastest rates, according to a Rutgers-led study.

 

The global rise in sea-level from melting ice and warming oceans from 1900 to 2000 led to a rate that’s more than twice the average for the years 0 to 1800—the most significant change, according to the study in the journal Nature Communications.

 

The study for the first time looked at the phenomena that contributed to sea-level change over 2,000 years at six sites along the coast (in Connecticut, New York City, New Jersey and North Carolina), using a sea-level budget. A budget enhances understanding of the processes driving sea-level change. The processes are global, regional (including geological, such as land subsidence) and local, such as groundwater withdrawal.

 

“Having a thorough understanding of sea-level change at sites over the long-term is imperative for regional and local planning and responding to future sea-level rise,” said lead author Jennifer S. Walker, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “By learning how different processes vary over time and contribute to sea-level change, we can more accurately estimate future contributions at specific sites.”

 

Sea-level rise stemming from climate change threatens to permanently inundate low-lying islands, cities and lands. It also heightens their vulnerability to flooding and damage from coastal and other storms.

Read the full article at: phys.org

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