Moradi Receives NIH Outstanding Investigator Award

Mahmoud Moradi
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Mahmoud Moradi

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

Outstanding Investigator Awards support individual scientists who have demonstrated outstanding research accomplishments and seminal contributions to their field. The awards can be used for any project of the researcher’s choice that fits within the mission of the granting institute. 

Moradi, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry in 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, tailor and fine-tune enhanced sampling and path-finding algorithms to address important biological and biomedical questions. Enhanced sampling and path-finding algorithms are two techniques for the study of molecular dynamics simulation. Both benefit from recent advances in structural biology and supercomputing technology. 

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

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

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

Contacts

Mahmoud Moradi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-6459, moradi@uark.edu

Matt McGowan, science and research communications officer
University Relations
479-575-4246, dmcgowa@uark.edu

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