My HPC-Europa visit to Cambridge

Author: Guest blogger
Posted: 29 Jul 2019 | 16:27

Hi! My name is Concetta Cozza. I am a PhD student in Life Science at University ‘Magna Graecia’ of Catanzaro. This summer I visited the research group of Professor Michele Vendruscolo based at the University of Cambridge for three months with the HPC-Europa3 transnational access programme.

My research is based on the use of computational techniques to study complex systems involved in diseases. In particular during my visit I studied the amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ), whose aggregation into fibrils is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The study of Aβ has become particularly important for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. I investigated how a small molecule modulates the conformational ensemble of Aβ40 to understand the similarities and differences between the bound and unbound ensembles, and to clarify its complex binding mechanisms.

Without the HPC-Europa3 fellowship and without access to ARCHER, it would not have been possible to perform this study on Aβ40 alone and in the presence of a small-molecule. Aβ is an intrinsically disordered protein and the mechanisms of these interactions are poorly understood.

Outside of the lab, I really enjoyed the city of Cambridge and its beautiful parks and colleges. I really enjoyed this experience and I strongly recommend the HPC-Europa opportunity. I learned a lot working with Prof. Michele Vendruscolo and his research group.

My HPC-Europa fellowship gave me the major opportunity to come to the UK and use ARCHER (one of the largest modern HPC facilities in the UK) to perform this study in collaboration with the group of Professor Michele Vendruscolo. Both technical and administrative support, provided by Mario Antonioletti and Catherine Inglis, were really wonderful during my visit and I am really satisfied with this experience.

HPC-Europa3 website: www.hpc-europa.eu/
Next Call closes on 19 September 2019.

Author

Concetta Cozza, University ‘Magna Graecia’ of Catanzaro