Harris is one of the lead authors of a study, published Monday in Nature Communications, that imaged the intricate formations of DNA and used computer simulations to examine how they wiggle and change.
"Our study looks at DNA on a somewhat grander scale -- several hundreds of base pairs -- and even this relatively modest increase in size reveals a whole new richness in the behavior of the DNA molecule," Harris said in a statement.
The 3 billion base pairs that make up human DNA -- about three feet worth of the stuff -- has to cram into the nucleus of each and every human cell. So it's no surprise that things get pretty twisted.
Here are the researchers describing their work in, um, a very creative way:
The researchers observed a complex variety of shapes and found that they changed and moved constantly. Because drugs work by binding to the specific shape of a molecule, the researchers hope that their work will help develop better pharmaceuticals.
"We are sure that supercomputers will play an increasingly important role in drug design. We are trying to do a puzzle with millions of pieces, and they all keep changing shape," Harris said.