A simulation by Rice University biophysicists detailed the free energy profile that dictates how a protein that helps the flu virus infect cells carries out its mission. The simulations predict how a protein will fold based on the intrinsic energies of each atom in the system. The proteins form loops and coils as they seek their lowest, most stable energy states (blue). In the domain the researchers studied, they found a hitch that slows the folding process that allows binding to the target cell to happen and also presents an opportunity for new vaccines to attack the flu. (Credit: Xingcheng Lin/Rice University)

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