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Horacio V. Guzman from the Department of Theoretical Physics and his collaborators published an article in Nanoscale with the title "Quantitative determination of mechanical stability in the novel coronavirus spike protein". The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 (CoV2) is required for cell entry and is the primary target for vaccine and therapy development. Unveiling molecular-scale mechanisms relevant to the diffusion of viral-particles and their encounter with the cell membrane receptor (ACE2) is a daunting task. They report on the gain in nanomechanical stability of the CoV2 spike protein in comparison with SARS-CoV from 2002. This result confirms that the receptor-binding domain (RBD only ∼200 amino acids) makes a significant contribution to the mechanical stability of the full spike homotrimer. The RBD plays a fundamental role as a damping element of the massive virus particle’s motion prior to cell recognition while also facilitating viral attachment, fusion, and entry. Their findings add a novel way to address the development of therapies aimed at destabilizing specific key contacts of the protein spike, which are responsible for the increased nanomechanical stability.


On the 16 of April 2021, the SRIP FoF Center started the implementation of a new Go-DIP project with the aim of developing new knowledge in companies in the field of digital intellectual property management, use, sharing and protection of digital data. Questions addressed will be which digital data is the subject of contracts, which digital data can be commercialized, how digital data is valued in due diligence of companies and simmilar. The project will involve 60 small and medium-sized enterprises from three countries. Guidelines will be produced with examples of company practices, expert opinions, examples of B2B solutions and templates for improved management of digital data as SME’s underutilized capital. The project partners are Hub Inovazione Trentino from Italy and Innosquare from Frieburg in Switzerland. The total value of the project is EUR 50,000, co-financing is 100%. The project lasts one year.


The World Corrosion Organization has declared April 24 as Corrosion Awareness Day. The growing population with the need for modern and high-tech technologies is increasing the consumption of basic technological metals such as iron and steel, copper, aluminium, zinc and nickel. The use of metals is necessarily related to corrosion protection, as metals are subject to corrosion in all environments. The cost of corrosion and related measures is huge globally, reaching $ 2.5 trillion per year (3.4% of GDP). The largest share goes to infrastructure and transport. It is generally accepted that 15-35% of the cost of corrosion ($ 370-870 billion) per year could be avoided through appropriate corrosion mitigation approaches. It further worries that access to metals in the future is also limited by the depletion of natural ores, as forecasts show a 2-6-fold increase in demand by 2100. Strategies to promote sustainable material cycles such as the circular economy and the 3R concept must become our guiding principles. At the Department of Physical and Organic Chemistry, we actively focus on strategies for extending the life cycle of metals with contemporary corrosion protection, thus contributing to reducing the gap between high demand and resource availability.


Researchers from Jožef Stefan Institute recently published their work in Nature and Science, two of the most prestigious international scientific journals, in the span of only two days, which is a remarkable achievement for Slovenia. In the Nature journal, prof. dr. Uroš Cvelbar, head of Department of Gaseous Electronics, and his colleagues from South Korea reported a surprising discovery in the paper titled Stabilisation of liquid instabilities by ionised gas jet. They succeeded to stabilise instabilities on liquids by ionisation of gas jet. These findings have the potential to improve many industrial processes that include gas jets, such as production of steel, reactive propulsion system, reactive pumps etc. Group of prof. dr. Dušan Turk, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Structural Biology and his international colleagues published in the Science journal a study X-ray screening identifies active site and allosteric inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 main protease that inspires hope in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In search of a drug against Covid-19, the consortium of 30 institutions led by Germany's DESY and the University of Hamburg performed a high-throughput X-ray crystallographic screen of two repurposing drug libraries against the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro), which is essential for viral replication.

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