SaddleBrooke Science Café

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Series Title:  Mysteries Revealed: Discoveries in Chemistry

We start this series with the history of how chemical sciences began and our how our fundamental understanding has led to everyday, modern advances and medical breakthroughs. Who knew that the invention of beer making would kick start a series of groundbreaking discoveries encompassing human and environmental health? A myriad of topics, ranging from the properties of snake venom to the chemical drivers of human behavior will be explored. Join the conversation!

DesertView Performing Arts Center

Fall 2018 Science Cafés Presenters:

Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 6:30PM

Everyday Biochemistry: How it Works and Why it Matters

Dr. Susan BeckPresenter: Roger L. Miesfeld, PhD. Distinguished Professor and Department Head, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arizona

The birth of modern biochemistry can be traced to the end of the 19th century, when chemists discovered that cell extracts of brewer’s yeast contained everything necessary for alcoholic fermentation. Breaking open cells and using their components in laboratory experiments continued for most of the 20th century. These advances included identifying the structure and function of: nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.  In the 1970s, techniques were developed to manipulate DNA. An example of an experimental approach known as recombinant DNA technology, paved the way for major advances in treating disease.  The explosion of discoveries in the biochemical sciences has continued with the realization that human cells can be used to create stem cells to edit specific genes. Join us for this presentation to hear more examples of how biochemistry works in our everyday lives and why it matters!

Roger Miesfeld's Science Café Talk

Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 6:30PM

Venoms: The Chemistry of Life and Death

Dr. Barbara CarrapaPresenter: Matt Cordes, Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arizona

Venoms are biological cocktails used for defense and predation. Our research looks at how the chemistry of protein toxins in recluse spider venoms causes skin lesions and life-threatening reactions in humans, as well as lethal effects on insect prey. In some cases, these venom toxins originated as harmless proteins but anciently mutated and ultimately utilized as toxins by widely different organisms such as bacteria and spiders. Perhaps surprisingly, venoms are not just instruments of destruction, but have medicinal uses. Recently, venom molecules from animals like tarantulas and vipers are being used or developed for human ailments ranging from pain to problems of the circulatory system. These are molecules of death, but also of life!

Coming Soon: Matt Cordes's Science Café Talk


*Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 6:30PM

3-D Drug Design

Dr. Jessica TierneyPresenter: Wolfgang Peti, Homer C. & Emily Davis Weed Endowed Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arizona

When we see an object we can likely understand it. Understanding a process is the first step to figuring out ways to manipulate a process, i.e. to increase its speed or bring it to a standstill. But how do we see things that our eyes cannot, such as a protein drug target? These proteins are 10-100 million times smaller than the smallest animal in the desert. Powerful microscopes cannot achieve the magnification needed to see these structures, so we need to use other techniques. I will introduce other technology such as  X-ray diffraction and nuclear magnetic resonance, the scientific high-resolution nephew of MRI's. We leverage these technologies to visualize proteins to understand how to create drug treatments for cancer and diabetes.

*The December Science Cafe will occur on a Tuesday

Coming Soon: Wolfgang Peti's Science Café Talk



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