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im体育app平台下载 bioinformatics researcher Dmitry Korkin examines a 3D model of a key protein of the novel coronavirus.

im体育app平台下载 bioinformatics researcher Dmitry Korkin examines a 3D model of a key protein of the novel coronavirus.

Media Contact

Andy Baron, Associate Director of Public Relations
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts
508-831-5916, ajbaron@wpi.edu

Colleen Wamback, Associate Director of Public Relations
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts
508-831-6775, cbwamback@wpi.edu

im体育app平台下载 Researcher Shares 3D Roadmap of Coronavirus with Scientists Worldwide

Professor Dmitry Korkin and colleagues reconstruct 3D model of novel coronavirus; findings to provide research community with greater understanding of infection spread and possible treatment

February 10, 2020
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A Worcester Polytechnic Institute (im体育app平台下载) bioinformatics researcher has created and unveiled a structural 3D roadmap of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a major development that potentially holds the key to understanding the spread and treatment of the deadly virus.

Using a recently published viral genome of the Wuhan coronavirus made available on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, Dmitry Korkin and a team of graduate students used molecular modeling to reconstruct the 3D structure of major viral proteins and their interactions with human proteins.

“We’re confident that our data and visual models could provide the guidance for experimental scientists worldwide who are working feverishly to solve this pandemic,” said Korkin, associate professor of computer science at im体育app平台下载 and director of the university’s bioinformatics and computational biology program.

In effect, Korkin said, he and his team have created a structural genomics map of the coronavirus that will be made available to researchers and anyone worldwide.

“Anyone can download our models, get any kind of information and use it for research,” he said. “This is one of the first examples of how data-driven science can quickly respond to this challenge.”

This is one of the first examples of how data-driven science can quickly respond to this challenge.
Dmitry Korkin
Associate Professor of Computer Science

The complete 3D structural roadmap dataset and a manuscript preprint can be found at Korkin’s lab website, and will be available at bioRxiv, a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and educational institution. Given the global concern over the new coronavirus, Korkin and researchers worldwide are using the website for rapid communication about the virus. 

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“We found that those three SARS isolates are not just similar to each other, but remarkably similar to the new coronavirus,” he said. “In fact, one of the isolates shares between 95 to 100 percent of its protein sequences.”

In explaining the 3D model findings, Korkin theorizes that multiple inserts on the genome sequence—which he likened to teeth on a key—may show how this virus is different from other coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS. For instance, while some of the inserts may block human antibodies from interacting with the viral surface protein, structural analysis suggests that some antibodies are capable of interacting with it.

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Korkin and his team made two other significant findings. First, im体育app平台下载 identified where on its protein structures this coronavirus differs from SARS. Through this identification, they were able to understand the functional implications of these differences.

Second, Korkin was able to examine the drug candidates for SARS that exist in the public database, and able to pinpoint the potential drugs that could lead to the new coronavirus treatment.

im体育app平台下载 professor Dmitry Korkin explains key structural differences emerging in the novel coronavirus.

im体育app平台下载 Researcher Explains Key Structural Differences Emerging in the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Korkin says he believes this kind of data-driven approach will become the standard for helping to solve some of the world’s biggest health challenges, as in the case of the coronavirus treatment.

“I firmly believe that using a strong bioinformatics and data-driven approach to life sciences will increasingly become the way for the science community to react to immediate health threats,” said Korkin.

As a next step, Korkin will provide the research community with further insights into the evolutionary implications of this new virus.

Joining Korkin on the research are im体育app平台下载 PhD students Hongzhu Cui, Ziyang Gao, Ming Liu, Senbao Lu, all from China; Oleksandr Narykov from Ukraine; Suhas Srinivasan from India; master’s student Mo Sun of China and master’s Fulbright scholar Winnie Mkandawire of Malawi.

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About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a purpose-driven community of educators and researchers, has been the global leader in project-based learning for 50 years. An impact maker for higher education and the world, im体育app平台下载 prepares confident, competent problem solvers with a project-based curriculum that immerses students in authentic, real-world experiences.

Media Contact

Andy Baron, Associate Director of Public Relations
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts
508-831-5916, ajbaron@wpi.edu

Colleen Wamback, Associate Director of Public Relations
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts
508-831-6775, cbwamback@wpi.edu

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Oleksandr Narykov in graduation regalia
Narykov (with a friend at commencement) is on the right.

A Student Perspective

“I hope that our work on coronavirus research provides insights for the scientific community.”

Oleksandr Narykov ’21, a PhD student, is part of the team working with Dmitry Korkin on research in response to COVID-19. Their breakthrough provided the scientific community with a greater understanding of the infection’s spread and possible treatment. When Oleksandr’s not working to help solve urgent worldwide problems, he’s spending time with the Russian-speaking Students and Scholars Association and has plans to eventually complete additional research training through a postdoc position. Learn more about our graduate programs in bioinformatics.