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$3M Breakthrough Prize Goes to Scientist Designing Molecules to Fight Covid-19


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The red molecule is the minibinder, attached to the blue coronavirus protein.

The Breakthrough Prize Foundation named David Baker of the University of Washington to receive its $3-million top prize for his use of computers to design complex molecules.

Credit: David Baker/University of Washington

The Breakthrough Prize Foundation named the University of Washington's David Baker to receive $3 million for his use of computers to design complex molecules, whose latest design may lead to new treatments for Covid-19.

Baker's Institute for Protein Design developed the Rosetta software for simulating folding and other protein interactions, which enabled citizen scientists to contribute to research via the FoldIT distributed computing network.

The foundation said Baker was awarded the $3-million prize "for developing technology that allowed the design of proteins never seen before in nature, including novel proteins that have the potential for therapeutic intervention in human diseases."

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