“Drug Design” Topic of Sept. 22 Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat

Christina Othon, assistant professor of physics, will speak on "Phase Transitions in Biological Membranes" during the Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat.

“Drug Design from Transition State Analysis” will be the central topic of the 12th annual Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry Retreat Sept. 22. The public is invited to the retreat, which will be held at Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown.

Faculty from chemistry, physics and biology will present lectures.

Vern Schramm

Vern Schramm, Professor and the Ruth Merns Chair in Biochemistry at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will deliver the keynote lecture at 4 p.m.

Professor Schramm investigates enzymatic transition state structures which enable him to develop powerful inhibitors for treatment and prevention of cancer and other diseases. One such inhibitor, ImmucillinH, has recently advanced to clinical trials for treatment of autoimmune diseases. His important contributions to the field have been recognized by numerous awards as well as his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2007.

“The Biophysics retreat brings together students and faculty from the life sciences departments, computer sciences and physics departments, as well as the Molecular Biophysics and Biological Chemistry, Chemical Physics and the Integrative Genomic Sciences programs, and provides them with opportunities to present and discuss current research, explore new ideas and possibly initiate collaborative work,” says event coordinator Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry and environmental studies.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. At 10:15 a.m., Philip Bolton, professor of chemistry, will speak on “Another Way of Looking at How Drug-like Molecules Interact with DNA.”

At 11 a.m. Ruth Johnson, assistant professor of biology, will speak on “Regulating Cell Movement within an Epithelium: Coordinating the Cell Surface and Cytoskeleton.”

At 1:30 p.m. Erika Taylor will speak on “Two Stops on the Part for Converting Lignin into Biofuels.”

The public is invited to the retreat. The event is free of charge.

At 3:15 p.m. Christina Othon, assistant professor of physics, will speak on “Phase Transitions in Biological Membranes.”

In addition, several Wesleyan undergraduates and graduates, will present their ongoing research at two poster sessions. They are scheduled for 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

A reception follows at 5 p.m.

The retreat is sponsored by the Molecular Biophysics Program, the Chemistry Department, the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department and the NIGMS Molecular Biophysics Training Grant.