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

Assistant chemistry professor Mahmoud Moradi.
Photo Submitted

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


U of A Student Discovers 'Experience of a Lifetime' at Rome Center

Kati Rod, a double major in international business management and agricultural business, was able to experience a study abroad opportunity at the U of A's Rome Center that gave her a new perspective on history. 

Technology Ventures Inventor's Spotlight: Morten Jensen

Jensen is an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the U of A who specializes in medical devices and experimental cardiovascular surgery.

Sustainable Ag, Ranching Expert Pratt Named Animal Science King Visiting Scholar

Dave Pratt, an authority on sustainable agriculture and profitable ranching, will give a presentation on "Three Secrets For Increasing Profit: Economy vs. Finance" at 3:30 p.m. March 14.

Jayakumari Nair, the February Student Leader of the Month

Originally from St. Petersburg, Florida, Nair came to the U of A to study Arabic, Middle East Studies and Asian Studies.

Early Career Investigator Award Workshop to Be Hosted by Division of Research and Innovation

The Division of Research and Innovation is hosting an annual workshop for untenured faculty who are considering early career grant proposals.

News Daily