Lex Fridman interviews Dmitry Korkin on the latest episode of his podcast.

Dmitry Korkin is a professor of bioinformatics and computational biology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he specializes in bioinformatics of complex disease, computational genomics, systems biology, and biomedical data analytics. I came across Dmitry’s work when in February his group used the viral genome of the COVID-19 to reconstruct the 3D structure of its major viral proteins and their interactions with human proteins, in effect creating a structural genomics map of the coronavirus and making this data open and available to researchers everywhere. We talked about the biology of COVID-19, SARS, and viruses in general, and how computational methods can help us understand their structure and function in order to develop antiviral drugs and vaccines. This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast. 

Time Index:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 2:33 – Viruses are terrifying and fascinating
  • 6:02 – How hard is it to engineer a virus?
  • 10:48 – What makes a virus contagious?
  • 29:52 – Figuring out the function of a protein
  • 53:27 – Functional regions of viral proteins
  • 1:19:09 – Biology of a coronavirus treatment
  • 1:34:46 – Is a virus alive?
  • 1:37:05 – Epidemiological modeling
  • 1:55:27 – Russia
  • 2:02:31 – Science bobbleheads
  • 2:06:31 – Meaning of life
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