Apples aid carbohydrate study

01 October 2007

Dr Michelle Kuttel, senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, has become the first Apple Research and Technology Support (ARTS) Laureate in Africa.

The ARTS programme offers young scientists the chance to become an ARTS Laureate and receive US$30,000 (R210 000) worth of Apple solutions, in the form of hardware, software and support.

Supported by a powerful 9-node Apple Workgroup Cluster with Xgrid technology, Apple's visualisation capabilities and technical support, Kuttel's two-year project will simulate and visualise the molecular dynamics of large polysaccharide systems to better understand the complex interactions of these important molecules.

"Molecular simulations are computationally extremely expensive," said Kuttel.

"This grant means that calculations that previously required months will now be reduced to weeks."

She added that understanding polysaccharides is important. "Though they are involved in multitudes of fundamental biological processes, such as the infection mechanisms of many diseases, they are still poorly understood."

More effective vaccines and safer food storage are two potential benefits from this grant of Apple technology.

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