275 Kennesaw State Univ Rd, NW Kennesaw, GA 30144

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Speaker: Dr. Soon Goo Lee, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Title: “Friend or Foe? Enzymes and Natural Products for Human Health: 3D Protein Structure as a Tool for Drug Development”
Abstract: Plants and microorganisms, including pathogens, are natural organic chemists. They synthesize innumerable biomolecules and small chemical compounds for survival, growth, self-defense, communication, and other undiscovered purposes. These natural products have been actively identified and studied because of their potential value in various pharmaceutical and nutritional applications. This seminar aims to introduce my “Genomic identification - Structure-based functional study - Protein/Metabolic engineering” strategies to investigate the core enzymes and metabolic pathways of primary and secondary metabolites. First, recent research identifying and characterizing a new route to phospholipids in eukaryotic parasites (e.g., apicomplexan protozoan parasites and parasitic nematodes) will be discussed. Biochemical and structural studies of phosphoethanolamine N-methyltransferase will introduce structure-guided research to understand the fundamental knowledge of the evolution of enzyme functions and molecular structures in eukaryotic pathogens. Furthermore, this section will provide new insights into the potential applications for the identification of novel drug targets and screening of small molecule inhibitors. The second part of the seminar will focus on a collaborative effort characterizing a novel biosynthetic pathway of indole-3-acetic acid and its core enzyme, indole-3-acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, in the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas. Lastly, this seminar will showcase a compelling platform for leveraging the growing availability of genome sequences and structural biology techniques for integrating research and teaching in the laboratory and classroom. In the last section, the study of bioactive plant secondary metabolites, particularly the sweet-tasting steviol glycosides in Stevia, will be discussed. This student-driven research will provide examples regarding the elucidation and engineering of novel enzymes and metabolic pathways of secondary metabolites in plants.


The Chemistry and Biochemistry Departmental Seminar Series covers a broad range of fields in the Chemical and Biochemical Sciences. In past seminars, scientists from Academia, Government, and Industry have presented their most recent discoveries and contributions in their respective areas. This Seminar Series offers students and faculty the opportunity to interact directly with other leaders in their specializations and to gain a good overview of the entire range of fields in Chemistry and Biochemistry.


This seminar will take place in person.

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