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Lectures & Events

Monday 28 May
Gerhard M.J. Schmidt Lecture Hall 11:00
"Engineering by Evolution: Bringing New Chemistry to Life" Prof. Frances Arnold [Info]

"Engineering by Evolution: Bringing New Chemistry to Life"

Caltech, USA
Not satisfied with nature’s vast catalyst repertoire, we want to create new protein catalysts and expand the space of genetically encoded enzyme functions. I will describe how we use the most powerful biological design process, evolution, to optimize existing enzymes and invent new ones, thereby circumventing our profound ignorance of how sequence encodes function. Using chemical intuition and mimicking nature’s evolutionary processes, we can generate whole new enzyme families that catalyze synthetically important reactions not known in biology. Recent successes include highly selective formation of C-Si and C-B bonds, anti-Markovnikov alkene oxidation, and alkyne cyclopropanation to make highly strained carbocycles, all in living cells. Extending the capabilities and uncovering the mechanisms of these new enzymes derived from natural iron-heme proteins provides a basis for discovering new biocatalysts for increasingly challenging reactions. These new capabilities increase the scope of molecules and materials we can build using synthetic biology and move us closer to fully DNA-programmed chemical synthesis. 1. S. B. J. Kan, R. D. Lewis, K. Chen, F. H. Arnold. “Directed Evolution of Cytochrome c for Carbon–Silicon Bond Formation: Bringing Silicon to Life.” Science 354, 1048-1051 (2016). 2. S. B. J. Kan, X. Huang, Y. Gumulya, K. Chen, F. H. Arnold. “Genetically Programmed Chiral Organoborane Synthesis.” Nature 552, 132-136 (2017). doi:10.1038/nature24996 3. S. C. Hammer, G. Kubik, E. Watkins, S. Huang, H. Minges, F. H. Arnold, “Anti-Markovnikov Alkene Oxidation by Metal-Oxo-Mediated Enzyme Catalysis.” Science 358, 215-218 (2017). 4. K. Chen, X. Huang, S. B. J. Kan, R. K. Zhang, F. H. Arnold, “Enzymatic Construction of Highly Strained Carbocyles.” Science, accepted for publication.
Wednesday 06 June
Gerhard M.J. Schmidt Lecture Hall 10:45
Chemical and Biological Physics Guest Seminar Prof. Erich Sackmann [Info]

Chemical and Biological Physics Guest Seminar

I discuss fundamental differences between the physical concepts of the globally coordinated and directed migration of cells on resilient tissue surfaces and in soft tissue, such as the brain. Cell locomotion on resilient surfaces is driven by solitary actin gelation pulses and myosin motors while microtubules and associated motors guide the global polarization of the cell The motion on surfaces is driven by protrusions forces generated by solitary actin gelation pulses that are emitted from adhesion domains, acting as biochemical reaction and force transmission centers. I describe the formation of functional membrane domains as a paradigm of the logistically controlled self-assembly of functional domains in membranes. In soft tissue of developing brains cell locomotion is driven by spreading of protrusions along long fibers protruding from glial cells followed by retraction of the nucleus which is powered by dynein motors. Dept. of Physics Technical University Munich
Monday 18 June
Gerhard M.J. Schmidt Lecture Hall 11:00
Shneior Lifson Memorial Lecture: "Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer in Catalysis and Energy Conversion" Prof. Sharon Hammes-Schiffer [Info]

Shneior Lifson Memorial Lecture: "Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer in Catalysis and Energy Conversion"

Department of Chemistry, Yale University
Monday 22 October
Gerhard M.J. Schmidt Lecture Hall 11:00
Chemistry Colloquium Prof. Michael Rosen [Info]

Chemistry Colloquium

UT Southwestern Medical Center
Monday 26 November
Gerhard M.J. Schmidt Lecture Hall 11:00
Chemistry Colloquium Prof. Dek Woolfson [Info]

Chemistry Colloquium

University of Bristol