Lyceum Society November 2018
Monday, November 5, 2018
The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St Fl 40, New York
Established in 1993, The Lyceum Society is comprised of the Academy’s retired and semi-retired Members. These Members are from diverse backgrounds, have different areas of scientific interest and expertise, and have practiced many professions. Their disciplines include Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Chemical and Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Information Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry, and many others.
The Society hosts convivial monthly meetings at the Academy. These meetings feature lectures and discussions with scientists from around the world, and also provide participating Members with the opportunity to give self-directed presentations and seminars based on their own specialties or new research interests. All Academy Members are welcome.
All Lyceum meetings (except December) are Brown Bag lunches.
November 05, 2018
Brown Bag Lunch
Update on Plastics in the Water
Polymers synthesized from petrochemicals are versatile, having the requisite qualities for packages, structures, containers, films, garments, and machines. Plastics have revolutionized the use of materials. Plastics accumulate in the environment, where their degradation is chemical and mechanical but not biological, leading to the prevalence of plastic particles in water. There has been little support for science regarding plastics in the environment. Like other innovative technologies, the plastic revolution is driven by externalization of costs, contrary to the long-term public interest. In historical perspective, plastic is both a success and a failure of technology.
The Elucidation of Biological Structure: Folding and Conformation of Quadruplexed DNA
Four-stranded quadruplex forming DNA sequences have been identified at sites throughout the genome and are believed to play key roles in several important biological processes, including promoter sequences of oncogenes and regulatory genes. Additionally, these repetitive (TTAGGG)n guanine-rich sequences are found within the telomeric overhang of chromosomal DNA. These sequences can fold in vitro to form G-quadruplex structures, which inhibit telomerase activity, an enzyme linked with cellular immortality and tumorigenesis and active in 80–90% of human cancer cells. Thus the design of quadruplex interactive agents (QIAs) that can bind and stabilize the folded DNA-quadruplex structure has become important for identifying potential chemotherapeutics that control the progression of tumorigenesis. However, a major challenge in the design of QIAs with appropriate binding specificity and selectivity is the polymorphic nature of the G-quadruplex conformation. In our studies we have employed several biophysical spectroscopic tools, in particular fluorescence spectroscopy and circular dichrosim spectroscopy for probing macromolecular conformations of the folded telomeric DNA and the effects of potential QIAs. This presentation will highlight some of our results and describe possible alternate biological applications for DNA-quadruplex conformations.