Graduate Student Summer Series - 2023

All presentations take place on Thursdays in the Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm

Thursday, May 18

Mr. Caleb Sindic will present "Exploring the Catalytic Role of Water in Enzymes." 

Abstract: Despite the ubiquity of enzymatic solvation in water, the role of this amphoteric solvent in biocatalysis remains largely unexplored. Considering the ease with which water ionizes to produce the quintessential acid and base pair, hydronium and hydroxide, its function in enzymes may largely be chemical in nature. Here we investigate the chemical behavior of water in enzymes, specifically its role in biocatalysis. The first part of this study probes the topology of water inside of enzymes, notably near active sites, using publicly available high-resolution x-ray crystallography enzyme models. The second part of the study employs molecular and quantum dynamics to examine the electrostatic fields imposed on water hydrogen in the active site of enzymes and the thermodynamic favorability of water’s autoionization therein.  

Caleb is finishing his 4th year in the PhD program in Chemistry in the lab of Prof. Pat Callis. 

Thursday, May 25

Heidi Koenig. a 4th year graduate student in Chemistry will present a seminar titled “Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Novel Antimicrobial Agents for the Control and Eradication of Pathogenic Bacterial Biofilms.”

Abstract: Multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria that possess the propensity to form biofilms have presented considerable challenges for the medical field in the treatment of chronic infections. Structure activity relationship (SAR) studies were conducted on novel 2-amino-5-nitrothiazole (ANT) derived antimicrobial agents via Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) assays and Minimum Biofilm Eradication Concentration (MBEC) assays, and the conclusions of these studies will be presented. In addition, N-trimethylsilyl-2-amino-5-nitrothiazole (N-TMS-ANT) was synthesized as a novel and highly efficient reagent for the direct synthesis of ANT derived antimicrobial agents. The preparative utility of this reagent will be described. Additionally, poly-substituted 2-aminoimidazoles have been shown to inhibit biofilm formation, disperse pre-formed biofilms and resensitize multi-drug resistant bacterial strains to antibiotic treatment. Novel poly-substituted 2-aminoimidazoles have been synthesized in excellent yields. Preliminary anti-biofilm results of these novel adjuvants against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA USA 300 LAC) and a highly virulent strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA14) in Kirby-Bauer Disk Diffusion assays will be disclosed.

Heidi works in the lab of Prof. Tom Livinghouse.

Thursday, June 1 

Graduate Student Dalton Compton

Advisor: Nick Stadie

Thursday, June 8

Graduate Student Jerome Lepeule

Advisor: Tom Livinghouse

Thursday, June 15

Plant Science Bldg (room 108).

Graduate Student Jonah Theisen

Advisor: Erik Grumstrup

Thursday, June 22

Graduate Student Alex King (Materials Science) 

Advisor: Erik Grumstrup


Fall 2023 Seminar Series 

All presentations take place on Fridays in the Byker Auditorium at 3:10 pm unless noted otherwise. 

Friday, August 25 

Chemistry Graduate Student Olivia Duletski will present a seminar on her research.

Research Advisor: Mike Mock

Friday, September 8

Chemistry Graduate Student Steven Montoya will present a seminar on his research.

Research Advisor: Rob Walker

Friday, September 15

Chemistry Graduate Student Oliver Jackson will present a seminar on his research.

Research Advisor: Sharon Neufeldt

Friday, September 22

Friday, September 29

Biochemistry Graduate Student Hope Welhaven will present a seminar on her research.

Research Advisors: Ron June and Brian Bothner

October 6

October 13

Ophelia Venturelli 

Host: Roland Hatzenpichler

October 20

October 27

November 3

November 17

December 1

December 8