A team of Turkish scientists is welcoming the unique opportunity to use the supercomputer “MareNostrum 5” to uncover treatments for the rare genetic disease Tatton-Brown-Rahman syndrome.

Established within the scope of the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC), of ​​which Türkiye has been a member since 2019, the supercomputer in Barcelona, Spain stands out as a device with capabilities that will enable new scientific breakthroughs.

This tech, which ranks eighth in the world, serves scientists and industry in many fields, especially artificial intelligence, climate change, renewable energy and health sciences.

MareNostrum 5 has a computing capacity of 380,000 laptops and can do a task in one hour that would take an average computer 46 years to complete.

Ph.D. student Serhan Turunç and researcher Hatice Döşeme are part of the research team led by lecturer Seyit Kale from the Department of Biophysics of Izmir Katip Çelebi University, which has a laboratory at the Izmir Biomedicine and Genome Center, as the first Turkish researchers to have access to MareNostrum5 to use in their genetic studies.

The Turkish scientists aim to develop more effective strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of rare genetic diseases by taking advantage of the system’s enormous processing power for a year.

With the computing time they gain, researchers will perform comprehensive analyses and simulations to map these studies and uncover new epigenetic mechanisms.

Serhan Turunç told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the study will use the computer to develop genetic research on Tatton-Brown-Rahman syndrome, a rare disease that causes growth defects, mental disability, autism and premature aging.

Stating that they have been working on the project for about two years and that they are happy to achieve such a result, Turunç explained: “Using computational methods in a computer environment, we determine how biological molecules behave within the cell. In our research, we examine the dynamics of the protein carrying the mutation that causes the disease and the protein without the mutation. As a result of this study, we interpret the relationships arising from the differences with various experiments and actually create a diagnosis for genetic diseases at the molecular level, and in this way, we direct therapeutic methods for treatment. The important element of this study is that it is a personalized approach.”

“Today, we try to reach a diagnosis by examining patient symptoms in the clinic but examining the mutation in the patient at the molecular level has the potential to better classify the disease. We predict that with the development of computational resources in the future, diagnosis at a molecular level specific to each patient and therapeutic drugs special for this can be developed using these methods. Technology will evolve towards this point, and our work is a pioneer of this,” he added.

A molecular ‘picture’

Stating that every disease has a molecular explanation, Kale said that the study in question is very important in this sense.

Thanking the authorities who contributed to the research, especially the experts on his team, Kale said: “It is not possible to experiment for every patient every time, but it is possible to make simulations for each patient, depending on the situation. So, there, our mission begins. We present a molecular picture.”

Döşeme also expressed appreciation that they were proud to have gained access to the unique computer.

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