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Featured Event | Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne’s Impact on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Introductory remarks by Paul K. Kearns, Laboratory Director

At Argonne National Laboratory, our leading scientists are tackling challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. By using the Lab’s state-of-the-art facilities and collaborating with scientific and academic research teams, Argonne’s scientists are:

  • Learning about the structure of the virus proteins in order to develop possible treatments and vaccines.
  • Using supercomputers to narrow down the potential treatments from billions of therapeutic compounds, so scientists can test them in a lab.
  • Creating epidemiological models to simulate the spread of COVID-19 through the population. The models’ results can inform the decisions of civic leaders as they determine the best public policies and interventions to implement.

You are invited to hear firsthand from three of the Lab’s scientific leaders who are performing this important work.

Stephen K. Streiffer, Interim Deputy Laboratory Director for Science, Associate Laboratory Director for Photon Sciences, and Director of the Advanced Photon Source

To combat COVD-19, you first have to understand the virus. Stephen is the director of Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) — a high-brightness, high-energy X-ray microscope. Research teams from across the country are using this powerful tool to determine the structural make-up of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. By understanding the virus’s protein structure, researchers can lay the groundwork for potential drug therapies and vaccines.

Rick L. Stevens, Associate Laboratory Director for Computing, Environment and Life Sciences

Rick leads a team of researchers who are using the Theta supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility to link up with other supercomputers around the country. Their collective might coupled with advanced artificial intelligence is resulting in the supercomputers powering simulations of how billions of different small molecules from drug libraries could interface and bind with different viral protein regions.

This group is also using computational approaches to identify candidate proteins that can form the basis of vaccines and build models to attempt to predict which patients are likely to be at high risk.

Charles M. Chick” Macal, Argonne Distinguished Scientist & Social, Behavioral, and Decision Science Group Leader

Chick leads a team that constructs epidemiological models to simulate the spread of COVID-19 through populations. These models are known as agent-based” because they incorporate several people-centric factors: where people are located, who is infected, who is infecting whom, and how people move within the population. Leaders use the model outputs to project how various interventions could impact virus spread.

The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois are using Argonne’s models to help inform their decisions on how and when to adjust public health policies.

Learn about the research, analysis, and discovery underway at Argonne National Laboratory that is significantly contributing to the global war against COVID-19.

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