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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Seminars

Spring 2021

Day: Wednesday
Time: 4:00-5:00 PM (MST)
Location: Virtually via Zoom (see information to join the seminar below)

Contact heather.bird@usu.edu to schedule a speaker or with questions.


Dr. Janice Brahney

Janice Brahney

  January 20, 2021

Host: Kim Hageman

Affiliation: Watershed Sciences, Utah State University

Faculty Page: Link

Research Group: Environmental Biogeochemistry and Paleolimnology Laboratory Website: http://janicebrahney.weebly.com/

Bio: Research
The Environmental Biogeochemistry and Paleolimnology Laboratory sees watersheds as integrated systems comprising the intersection between climatology, hydrology, geology, and ecology. Lakes and their watersheds are sensitive to their environment and respond over both short and long timescales, making them useful indicators of environmental health and global change. Our research uses multi-disciplinary approaches to investigate environmental processes and change and can be broadly divided into three main themes:
1. Anthropogenic controls on nutrient cycles
2. Climate impacts on freshwater ecosystems
3. Applications of geochemistry to aquatic ecology

Academic History
Janice received her doctorate from the University of Colorado, Boulder from the Department of Geological Sciences. Her doctorate examined the potential for dust to transport nutrients and base-cations to freshwater ecosystems. During her MSc she spent time at both Simon Fraser University and the University of Waterloo where she examined climate impacts on watershed hydrology and lake level fluctuations. Janice also holds a BSc in Environmental Science with a minor in Geology from Simon Fraser University. Most recently, Janice was a post-doctoral scientist at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, where she led projects on the water quality and quantity issues in the Canadian Columbia Basin.

Flyer Link

 

William Fenical

Professor William Fenical-RICHARD OLSEN LECTURE SERIES

  January 27, 2021

Host: Bradley Davidson

Affiliation: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

Faculty Page: https://wfenical.scrippsprofiles.ucsd.edu/

Research Group: Natural Products Chemistry

Bio :Professor of Oceanography and Pharmaceutical Science, Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

William Fenical is a distinguished professor of oceanography and director of the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. His research involves marine natural products chemistry and marine pharmacology with an additional interest in chemical defense mechanisms in marine organisms.

Born in Chicago, Fenical received a BS from California State Polytechnic University, an MS from San Jose State University, and a PhD in organic chemistry from UC Riverside.

Prior to joining Scripps as a marine research chemist, Fenical taught at San Jose State University, UC Riverside, and San Bernardino Valley College. He also spent one year as a research scientist for Shell Development Company.

Fenical investigates the isolation and identification of chemical materials from marine plants, animals, and microorganisms that may have potential pharmaceutical or agricultural uses. He is also interested in how naturally produced chemical compounds affect the ecology of tropical marine ecosystems.

His latest research has uncovered potential new drugs from the ocean. From the seafloor near the Bahamas, he discovered a bacterium that produces chemicals that, during controlled experiments, have been shown to inhibit the growth of melanoma and colon cancer cells, the herpes simplex, and AIDS viruses. His research team found a bacterium from a jellyfish that can kill certain human cancer cells and may also control the inflammation associated with arthritis and asthma. Fenical also has discovered a new anti-inflammatory drug derived from soft coral. This drug, Pseudopterosin, is currently used in skin creams and is in line for development for the treatment of human skin diseases.

He received the Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products from the American Chemical Society.  Fenical received the National Cancer Institute’s highly respected Merit Award for his discovery of the production of new antibiotics and antitumor agents by deep ocean sediment bacteria.

Fenical was awarded the prestigious Silver Medal Award from the International Society of Chemical Ecology for his extensive achievements in marine chemical ecology. He received the Senior Queens Fellowship in Marine Science from the Australian government, and the Pauley Fund Award for research at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. He is past chairman of the Gordon Research Conference of Marine Natural Products Chemistry, and served as a member of the Bioorganic and Natural Products Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. He has also served as president of the International Society of Chemical Ecology and the American Society of Pharmacognosy.

He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Pharmacognosy, the American Society of Chemical Ecology, and the Western Society of Naturalists. He founded the Consortium for Marine Biotechnology in San Diego, and is on the editorial board of seven major international journals in his field. Fenical has published more than 330 scientific articles on marine chemistry research. He is listed in American Men in Science and Who’s Who in the West.

Flyer Link

 

Joanna Atkin

Joanna Atkin

  February 3, 2021

Host: Yi Rao

Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, College of Arts and Sciences, Chemistry

Faculty Page: https://chem.unc.edu/faculty/atkin-joanna/

Research Group: https://sites.google.com/view/atkinlab/home

Bio: Joanna Atkin obtained her B.S. from Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. She completed her PhD at Columbia University in New York, and went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington and the University of Colorado, Boulder. She joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015, and her research focuses on near-field spectroscopy for energy and bio applications.

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Audrey Lamb

Audrey Lamb

  February 10, 2021

Host: Joanie Hevel

Affiliation: University of Texas at San Antonio

Faculty Page: https://chemistry.utsa.edu/archives/1512

Research Group: Link

Bio: Audrey Lamb earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Furman University in Greenville, SC. She completed her doctorate in Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (Nashville, TN) in the laboratory of Dr. Marcia Newcomer.  She went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Amy Rosenzweig at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).  She joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 2003 and rose through the ranks to Full Professor (2015), including a short time as Interim Dean of Graduate Studies (2019-2020).  In the fall of 2020, Dr. Lamb moved to the University of Texas at San Antonio to be chair of the Department of Chemistry.  Dr. Lamb’s research focuses on the structure and catalytic mechanisms of enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of vitamins and metallophores by pathogenic bacteria.

Flyer Link

 

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson

  February 17, 2021

Host:Joanie Hevel

Affiliation: University of Nebraska

Faculty Page: Link

Research Group: Link

Bio: Dr. Mark Wilson is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, a member of the Redox Biology Center, and an Associate Director of the Center for Integrated Biomolecular Communication at the University of Nebraska.  Dr. Wilson earned a B.S. in Biology/Biochemisty and a B.A. in History from the University of Rochester and then a Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University.  Dr. Wilson's graduate work with Dr. Axel Brunger involved using high-resolution
x-ray crystallography to study functionally important conformational flexibility in the eukaryotic calcium sensor calmodulin.  He then went on to postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Gregory Petsko and Dr. Dagmar Ringe at Brandeis University, where he determined the three-dimensional structure of the Parkinsonism-related protein DJ-1, the first Parkinson's Disease-related protein to have its three-dimensional structure determined. He also used ultra-high resolution X-ray crystallography to study motions of possible catalytic importance in the metabolic enzyme dihydrofolate reductase.  Dr. Wilson's current research interests include the structural basis of redox signaling, the catalytic repertoire of cysteine-dependent enzymes, and the development and use of new methods of time-resolved crystallography to study enzyme catalysis and regulation.

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Ibon Alkorta

Ibon Alkorta

  February 24, 2021

Host: Steve Scheiner

Affiliation:  Instituto de Quimica Medica (CSIC), Madrid

Faculty Page: http://www.iqm.csic.es/

Research Group: http://are.iqm.csic.es/

Bio:Prof. Alkorta has more than 30 years research experience. His main areas of interest are the theoretical study of weak interactions (hydrogen, halogen and pnicogen bonds as well as beryllium interactions) and the prediction of physicochemical properties of heterocycles. Prof Alkorta has published a total of 791 articles in international journals. Of these, 41 have been published in 2020. The number of articles has grown steadily, culminating in an h-index of 66 and a total number of ~22000 citations. 33 of his articles have been cited more than 100 times.

Prof. Alkorta started his scientific carrier as synthetic organic chemist under the direction of Dr. Vicente Aran. During his PhD under the direction of Prof. Pilar Goya, he became familiarized with the molecular modeling techniques while carrying out the synthesis of heterocyclic compounds. In his post-doctoral stage at the MRI (Palo Alto, California, USA) under the direction of Dr. Hugo Villar he extended his knowledge in molecular modeling and started to use quantum-mechanism programs to characterize molecular interactions. Since them, he has specialized in the study of weak interactions. He has spent variable periods of time (between 6 and 12 weeks) during 10 summers (from 2009-2018) as invited researcher in the group of Prof. Paul Popelier (Manchester University, UK)

Flyer Link

 

Aliong Ke

Ailong Ke

  March 3, 2021

Host: Ryan Jackson

Affiliation: Cornell University

Faculty Page: Ailong Ke | Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (cornell.edu)

Research Group: LiAilong Ke's Lab @ cornell University (google.com)

Bio: Ailong Ke (b. 1973)

BS in Biology at the University of Science and technology of China in 1995.

PhD in Biophysics at the Johns Hopkins Medical School in 2002 with Cynthia Wolberger.

Postdoc at UC Berkeley with Jennifer Doudna.

Joined the Cornell faculty in 2005.

Work focuses on the structure and function of RNA and the RNA-guided biological processes, such as CRISPR-Cas.

Provost Research Innovation Award in Life Sciences, Cornell, 2018.

RNA society Mid-Career award, 2018.  

 

Email: Ailong.Ke@cornell.edu

Flyer Link

 

Li Li

Li Li

  March 17, 2021

Host: Kim Hageman

Affiliation: University of Nevada, Reno

Faculty Page: https://www.unr.edu/public-health/faculty/li-li

Research Group: https://lilienv.weebly.com/

Bio: Li Li is an environmental modeler in the inter-discipline of environmental chemistry, industrial ecology, and exposure and health sciences. His research seeks to understand the accumulation, transport, transformation of synthetic chemicals (e.g., flame retardants, plasticizers, pesticides, and surfactants) and materials (e.g., nanomaterials and microplastics) in a nexus comprising the human socioeconomic system, environment and food webs, as well as the resulting adverse environmental and health effects. He strives to establish, foster, maintain and promote a variety of mechanistically sound and computationally effective models, to advance our thinking and understanding of the behavior and processes of synthetic chemicals and materials and meanwhile to inform decision making.

In 2017, Li obtained his Ph.D. degree from Peking University (China), with his doctoral research honored with the "Springer Theses" Outstanding Ph.D. Research Award. He worked as a Mitacs postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto Scarborough (Canada) between 2017 and 2019, before joining the University of Nevada, Reno as an assistant professor.

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Name

  March 24, 2021

Host:

Affiliation:

Faculty Page: Link

Research Group: Link

Bio:

Flyer Link

 

Name

  March 31, 2021

Host:

Affiliation:

Faculty Page: Link

Research Group: Link

Bio:

Flyer Link

 

Antonio Frontera

Antonio Frontera

  April 7, 2021

Host: Steve Scheiner

Affiliation: Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain

Faculty Page: https://www.uib.eu/Learn/estudis-de-grau/Faculties-and-schools/fcie//

Research Group: http://supramol.uib.es/

Bio:Antonio Frontera is Full Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB) and co-leader of the Supramolecular Chemistry research group, where he leads the Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory. He received a B. S. degree from the Universidat de les Illes Balears as well as the Ph. D. degree (1994) at the same institution. He then spent two years in Prof. William L. Jorgensen’s group at Yale University, New Haven. His independent career started in 2000 at the UIB, where he has obtained successive promotions up to the current position. The general research interests are focused toward the study of noncovalent interactions, supramolecular chemistry, noncovalent catalysts, crystal engineering.

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Matthew Conley

Matthew Conley

  April 14, 2021

Host: Gang Li

Affiliation: University of California, Riverside

Faculty Page: Link

Research Group: Link

Bio:

Flyer Link

 

Chong Fang

Chong Fang

  April 21, 2021

Host: Yi Rao

Affiliation: Oregon State University

Faculty Page: https://chemistry.oregonstate.edu/Fang

Research Group: https://fanglab.oregonstate.edu/

Bio: Dr. Chong Fang grew up in China and received his B.S. in Chemistry and Computer Application (dual degree) from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 2001. He completed his graduate studies in the Department of Chemistry at University of Pennsylvania and received his Ph.D. in 2006. His graduate work focused on the structure and dynamics of helices in both water and membrane environments using the Two-Dimensional Infra-Red spectroscopy (2D IR). He stayed at Penn for a few months after graduation to complete an important project concerning the ultrafast relaxation dynamics of a drug molecule in complex with its enzyme target, the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (HIV-1 RT). He then moved across the US to the west coast in 2007, and did his postdoctoral research at the Department of Chemistry in UC Berkeley. His work on the fluorescence mechanism of GFP especially in the ultrafast time regime showcased the resolving power of the newly developed Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy (FSRS) targeting photosensitive biomolecules, and was featured on the Nature cover in 2009. In summer 2010, Chong found his new home in Oregon and started his independent career as Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Oregon State University. He has a growing interest in tackling modern biophysical and biochemical problems using state-of-the-art vibrational spectroscopies in the femtosecond to picosecond domain, resolving their intrinsic motions that are functional, and facilitating future bioengineering and biomedical advances. In his mind, life is fulfilling while research is opportunistic and enjoyable with a vibrant group of young talents in this exciting field where chemistry, physics, optics meet biology. In September 2016, Dr. Fang was promoted to Associate Professor.

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Archived Schedules