New 'Short Talks' Explores Researchers Drive to a Coronavirus Vaccine

Assistant chemistry professor Mahmoud Moradi.
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Assistant chemistry professor Mahmoud Moradi.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Mahmoud Moradi’s work might be the unconventional strategy for developing a coronavirus vaccine.

Only weeks after the virus broke in the United States, Moradi, an assistant professor of chemistry in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, was granted access to Frontera, a supercomputer sponsored by National Science Foundation. It allowed him to build dynamic, three-dimensional simulations of coronavirus spike glycoproteins.

In this new episode of Short Talks From the Hill, a research podcast of the University of Arkansas, Moradi explains how the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, bind to human cell receptors. He then discusses what his simulations have revealed so far and why these findings are important.

“Because the activation of this region itself is important, the conformational, the structural change of this region itself is very important,” Moradi says in the podcast, “there might be ways of designing drugs that stop this region from even being activated. That's a completely different strategy that the simulations — that we are currently running — might be able to provide some framework for.”

To listen to Moradi discuss his research, go to, the home of research news at the University of Arkansas, or visit the "On Air" and “Programs” link at

Short Talks From the Hill highlights research and scholarly work at the University of Arkansas. Each segment features a university researcher discussing his or her work. Previous podcasts can be found under the ‘Short Talks From the Hill’ link at

Thank you for listening!

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Matt McGowan, science and research writer
University Relations


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