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Chemistry Seminar Series

Weekly: EDUC 112 – 1:30 pm to 2:20 pm

Friday, September 21, 2018

Dr. Deanne SammondNational Renewable Energy Lab
Title: “Using computational protein modeling to develop cost-competitive renewable biofuels”


I use and develop structural informatics and rational protein design approaches to improve enzymes used to produce renewable fuels and chemicals. For example, cellulase enzymes deconstruct plant cell walls to release sugars used in fuel production. Cellulases, however, are inhibited by the plant cell wall polymer, lignin. I use computational tools to understand what causes cellulase inhibition and design improved enzymes to lower the cost of biofuels production. Also, state-of-the-art metabolic engineering approaches to produce fuels and chemicals from renewable resources often require introducing enzymes into non-native organisms. Many organisms ideal for the production of biofuels thrive in extreme environments, which can challenge our ability to import non-native enzymes. Protein engineering can rationally evolve enzymes for extreme environments by altering features such as stability, activity and substrate or cofactor specificity.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Dr. Picklestein, aka Associate Professor Henry Charlier, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Boise State University
Title: “Chrazy, Chool Chemistry!”


Chemicals get a bad rap in our world today. People seem to be searching for healthy “chemical free” foods, drinks, etc. Guess what? Nothing like that exists. Every substance in our world is made of chemicals. This includes our food and drink. Water, dihydrogen monoxide, is a chemical. We live in a chemical world. So, in order to counter the negative perceptions of chemicals, we are going to demonstrate just what chemicals can do and how amazing they are. So be prepared to be mystified and amazed by Chrazy, Chool Chemistry.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Dr. Ken Cornell, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Boise State University
Title: “New Treatments for Acute and Chronic Infectious Diseases”


Infectious diseases account for approximately one third of the annual human mortality on the planet. With the rise in antibiotic resistance and co-morbidities associated with epidemic obesity and diabetes, the death rate for infectious disease is expected to rival cancer and heart disease in the next 20 years. In this talk, I will summarize a lot of the projects that have been ongoing in my lab in the past decade to develop new therapeutics that function to interrupt critical nutrient salvage pathways in pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Giardia. I will also present recent work we have been involved in to develop a “plasma scalpel” to treat MRSA and other microbes responsible for chronic wound infections.