The Coronavirus Structural Task Force

Andrea Thorn

Playlists: 'rc3-2021' videos starting here / audio

We are 25 researchers across nine time zones who aim to find out how the coronavirus works - on an atomic level. The virus is made up of molecules and when you understand how they work - bind to a host cell, copy the viral RNA, build new viruses - you can combat the COVID-19 pandemic with drugs and vaccines. This is what we aim to do.

We usually develop the computational methods with which structural biologists interpret their experiments. When they solve a new molecular structure from Corona, it is deposited online. We, in turn, then download, evaluate, improve and put it into context. Our data were used among others by IBM OpenPandemics, Folding@Home (when it reached 2,4 exaFLOPS) and the EU JEDI Initiative.
In the course of our work, we also developed the scientifically most accurate 3D-printable virus model, animated the entry into host cells and inform the public about SARS-CoV-2. Other than in “normal” research projects, we came together without funding but by the power of spontaneous willingness; we are mostly junior researchers and some team members never met in person. However, during the last months, we forged friendships and a research network that spans the globe…
...or as a newspaper wrote "this is what it looks like when geeks save the world".

Homepage: | Twitter: @thornlab