Rebecca Wade from the Molecular and Celullar Modeling (MCM) group at HITS was awarded 3,250,000 core hours on the Marconi cluster at Cineca, one of the largest computing centers in Europe, for the research project “DyCoVin – Interactions and dynamics of SARS-CoV 2 spike-heparin complex.” The goal is to pinpoint the role of certain molecules involved in the process of SARS-Cov2 infection using realistic computer simulations. The researchers want to characterize the structure and dynamics of putative binding patches for heparin-like compounds on the spike receptor. This approach could impact the treatment of the viral infection because heparin is already used in the treatment of other lung diseases, and recent clinical trials suggest that inhaled heparin for lung diseases is beneficial and safe. The project is being pursued in collaboration with HITS visiting scientist Giulia Paiardi andher tutor Marco Rusnati (University of Brescia, Italy).
The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.