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Chemistry Seminar Series

Weekly: LART 106 – 1:30 pm to 2:20 pm

Friday, September 22, 2017

Henry Charlier, Associate Professor, Boise State University, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Title: “A Presentation Pertaining to Preparing Pertinent, Purposeful, Pleasantly Pretty, Powerful, and Passionate Power Point Presentations that Will Particularly Please All Present People”

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ashley Poppe, Boise State University, Graduate Student
Title: “Acyl-substrate Recognition in the Binding and Chemical Steps of BmaI1 in Burkholderia mallei”

Abstract: Many bacterial pathogens use quorum sensing as an intercellular communication mechanism to regulate virulence gene expression. This mechanism gives the bacteria an advantage to colonize host defenses and express antibiotic resistance. Disrupting quorum sensing is a promising strategy to disrupt interbacterial communication and mitigate resistance towards antibiotics. AHL synthase uses acyl-ACP and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) to synthesize N-acyl-L-homoserine lactones (AHLs) quorum sensing signals in Gram-negative bacteria. BmaI1 is the AHL synthase in Burkholderia mallei; the bacteria responsible for causing glanders disease. BmaI1 specifically uses octanoyl-ACP and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) to create octanoyl-homoserine lactone (C8-AHL) native quorum signal for this bacterium. This project is aimed at understanding the extent of acyl substrate recognition in binding and chemical steps of BmaI1 catalyzed AHL synthesis. In this talk, I will describe tools developed in our laboratory to investigate substrate recognition at each enzymatic step in AHL synthesis. Inhibition of AHL synthesis is a promising strategy to disrupt interbacterial communication and curb virulence gene expression in Gram-negative bacteria. Discovering how BmaI1 is able to selectively recognize octanoyl-ACP will give insight into designing quorum sensing specific inhibitors for this pathogen.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Kelsey Skluzacek, Boise State University, Graduate Student
Title: “Structure-Based Drug Design of Novel Therapeutics Targeting Metastatic Breast Cancer”

Abstract: It is estimated that in 2017, over 300,000 individuals will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 of those will lose their life. The five-year survival rate prior to metastasis is quite promising at 93%, whereas, after metastasis that rate plummets to an abysmal 23%. Inflammatory cytokines (ICs) have been shown to play a role in the early stages of metastasis, leading to an interest in developing small molecule inhibitors (SMIs) of the proteins responsible. Previous work used computational chemistry to scan the surface of the ICs and located potential binding sites. Out of 260,000 computationally screened compounds, 16 compounds projected to have the tightest binding were chosen to be synthesized and tested. These 16 compounds were obtained from the National Cancer Institute and further screened for inhibition of the STAT3 signaling pathway by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of phosphorylated STAT3 (pSTAT3). It was found that SMI-8, SMI-10, and SMI-11 would potentially have the greatest inhibitory effects on IC signaling. The goal of this project is to synthesize analogs of SMI-8 and SMI-10 to produce second-generation compounds with an even greater propensity of disrupting pathways that lead to breast cancer metastasis.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Jennifer Eichmeyer, MS, LCGC, Boise State University, College of Health Sciences/School of Allied Health Sciences
Title: Learn about the Field of Genetic Counseling!

Summary: Genetic counselors are health care professionals who help individuals and their families learn about the effects of genetic conditions and common diseases. By tracing family history and evaluating test results, genetic counselors identify individuals at risk and provide information so families can learn how to manage their health. There are a variety of career settings that serve many different people such as practice in a private clinics or large hospitals. There are also options to work in a clinical laboratory or contribute to policy advocacy. New and different opportunities regularly become available as the field continues to grow. Genetic counselors earn a professional-level salary and benefit from rewarding careers. Through graduate-level courses and clinical training genetic counselors earn a highly respected Master’s degree. Programs prepare graduates to seek professional certification and launch them into one of the most personally satisfying careers in the health sciences

Bio: Jennifer graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Genetics and University of Texas at Houston with MS in Genetic Counseling. She started her career in Idaho as a genetic counselor in 2002 at St. Luke’s Health System and established the first cancer genetic counseling clinic for the state. Jennifer has been involved in expanding other genetic services in the state of Idaho through the development of a High Risk Breast Clinic, NICU genetics, launching telehealth genetic counseling services, and was involved in successfully getting state licensure for genetic counselors passed in the Idaho legislature. Jennifer was hired at Boise State in June to develop and administer the MS Genetic Counseling program.