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August 2021 | Science Highlights, Announcements & Upcoming Events
XSEDE helps the nation's most creative minds discover breakthroughs and solutions for some of the world's greatest scientific challenges. Through free, customized access to the National Science Foundation's advanced digital resources, consulting, training, and mentorship opportunities, XSEDE enables you to Discover More. Get started here.
Science Highlights
Supercomputers Help Reveal Dynamic Plastic-Eating Duo
NREL scientists discover synergy in PET plastic-degrading enzymes using XSEDE resources
Plastic waste is a big problem for the environment. About 300 million tons are produced every year, according to the United Nations. Much of that is polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used to make single-use plastic bottles, carpets, and clamshell packaging. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency estimates annually only about 29% of PET bottles are recycled. Luckily, the enzyme PETase can break down PET. XSEDE-allocated supercomputer simulations recently revealed more about a sidekick enzyme that cooperates with PETase in breaking down PET plastic, a six-fold improvement versus PETase alone. Scientists  hope this research can inform future strategies for plastic upcycling, which takes plastic waste and breaks it down into commercially valuable components that can make new products. 

The dynamic enzyme duo of PETase and MHETase work well together break down PET plastic, commonly found in disposable bottles. Credit: Knott et al.
Bridges Simulates Tiny Robots with Better Directability, Maneuverability
Proof of concept for rational design of "biohybrid walkers" reduces lab testing, expense
Biohybrid robots – made by adding living tissues such as muscle cells to an artificial skeleton – have a lot of potential for doing complex jobs at tiny scales. But engineering these robots has been hit or miss, with researchers testing more or less arbitrary designs. A team from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign used simulations on the XSEDE-allocated Bridges platform at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) to create a rational design approach that they and others can use to more quickly and efficiently develop effective biohybrid robots.
The team tested three different polymer-skeleton shapes, making the biohybrid robot move via muscle rings that contracted. Of the three, the "two-ring" design (#1 in the image), with opposing pairs of legs, was the second-fastest mover and offered much better maneuverability than the others. Arrows show how the muscle rings contract when stimulated by an electric field. Credit: Wang J, Zhang X et al.
RNA Atlas Assembles Comprehensive Knowledge on Human Transcriptome
XSEDE resources help identify, validate new RNA molecules for the study of disease
Researchers internationally have built one of the most comprehensive catalogs of the human transcriptome to date. By combining complementary sequencing techniques, they have deepened our understanding of the function of known ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules and discovered thousands of new RNAs. Their research, published in Nature Biotechnology, is the result of more than five years of work to further unravel the complexity of the human transcriptome to study disease processes and uncover novel genes that may serve as therapeutic targets or biomarkers. The researchers relied on XSEDE resources to prove that these genes play a role in cells and tissues and are not merely byproducts of other cellular processes.
TACC's Stampede2 supercomputer is a key resource for XSEDE.
Community Announcements
Apply Now for the SC21 Early Career Program
Early-career researchers and technical professionals within the first five years of a permanent position are encouraged to apply for the SC21 Early Career program. This virtual workshop, scheduled for Monday, November 15, 2021, will provide a one-day series of special sessions related to goal setting, collaboration, publishing, funding, mentorship, science communication, time management, academic service roles and more.
Applications close August 31, 2021
Notifications sent September 30, 2021
Register Today for RRoCCET21!
RRoCCET (Research Running on Cloud Compute & Emerging Technologies) is a hub for researchers seeking to gain access to the expanded research capabilities provided by the public cloud. RRoCCET21 is a virtual conference August 10-12 for researchers who are interested in utilizing cloud computing for their work. The program will feature lightning talks that explore existing case studies with feasible cloud computing implementation plans. 
Upcoming Globus Events
Please join Globus at one of the following events to hear from one of our experts:
Aug. 12, 3:00-3:30 p.m. Central 
Aug.19, 3:00-3:30 p.m. Central  
Globus Office Hours — Are Back!
Every 4th Thursday @ 3 p.m. Central
starting Aug. 26
GlobusWorld Tour (West) — Online
Sept. 15, 1:00-3:00 Pacific
Bio-IT World — Sept. 20-22
Upcoming Dates and Deadlines