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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The Chemistry Club is hosting a Research Fair on the 3rd floor of the Science Building on Monday, February 6th from 3pm-5pm. Professors and/or their graduate students will be in the hallway to talk about the research their lab does.  If you are curious or thinking about doing research this is a great introduction to the various research projects available in the Department of Chemistry!

Dr. Rajesh Nagarajan has been awarded a $329,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.  This research project seeks to explore interbacterial communication via quorum sensing.  As part of this award, both graduate and undergraduate researchers in Dr. Nagarajan’s laboratory will utilize protein biochemistry and mechanistic enzymology to uncover the role of AHL synthases in enforcing signal fidelity in microbial communication, which will provide key insights to designing quorum sensing inhibitors.

Dr. Ken Cornell was recently honored as the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Research award.  The January 11, 2016 edition of Boise State University’s Update News has the details at this link:

Dr. Rajesh Nagarajan’s research group recently published a paper entitled “A Comparative Analysis of Acyl-Homoserine Lactone Synthase Assays” in the December 14, 2015 edition of Europe’s ChemBioChem. In this paper, the authors conducted a comprehensive analysis of assays for enzymes that synthesize quorum sensing signals in Gram-negative bacteria. Chemistry research students Daniel Shin, Nicole Frane, Ryan Brecht, and Jessee Keeler are co-authors.

Dr. Henry Charlier’s research was recently published in the February 1, 2016 edition of the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics in an article entitled “Mechanistic implications from structures of yeast alcohol dehydrogenase complexed with coenzyme and an alcohol.”  Yeast alcohol dehydrogenase is an enzyme that has great utility in industry and is often used to understand general concepts in how enzymes catalyze reactions.  This work reports the x-ray crystal structure of a potential reaction intermediate that may occur during the catalyzed oxidation of alcohol.  It is the first report of its kind and could provide deeper insights into how enzymes bind reactants and orient them for catalysis.  The full article can be viewed at



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