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NFI - Faculty Seminar Series: Tracing Genome Evolution for COVID-19 Predictive Intelligence (Caetano-Anollés) / Predictive Lifetime Estimates of Space Propulsion Systems (Chew)

Event Type
New Frontiers Initiative
Dec 13, 2022   10:00 - 11:00 am  
Scott Lathrop
Originating Calendar
New Frontiers Initiative

Abstract for Gustavo Caetano-Anollés's talk

Predictive intelligence is a forward-looking strategy that uses past events to anticipate the future. I will report on our efforts to generate predictive intelligence for viral pandemics. Our focus is the evolving COVID-19 virus. The virus continues to represent a worldwide threat despite implementation of public-wide vaccination measures. Analysis of over 12 million genome sequences revealed how viral genetic makeup is being structured by emerging mutant constellations. We found that haplotypes – sets of mutations that are inherited together – were linked to virus seasonality and coalesced into constellations delimiting networks of molecular interactions. We also modelled the changing structure of the ~30 proteins of the COVID-19 genome with powerful deep-learning ab initio structural prediction methods, uncovering a central functional role of protein loop and structural domain regions. Our goal is to develop artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that can be utilized for emergency health security programs.


Abstract for Huck Beng Chew's talk

The need for an efficient, high-thrust space propulsion system to augment or replace traditional chemical propulsion systems is of great national importance, and is paramount to advancing space supremacy of the United States. One of the candidate propulsion system for NASA’s Artemis program and human space flight missions on Mars is the Hall Thruster, which is a high power electric propulsion (EP) system. Predicting the failure lifetime of high power electric propulsion associated with sputtering-induced damage to the graphitic pole covers remains challenging, due to large scatter in experimental data on the sputtering yield of carbon materials. I will highlight efforts to resolve uncertainties in the sputtering data with scale-bridging molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and to extract meaningful physics to guide sputtering experimentation.


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