Maria Losito
Undergraduate Biology

KU hosts inaugural Chemical Biology Symposium

Mon, 10/24/2022

LAWRENCE — Through the joint effort of the National Institute of Health Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Chemical Biology of Infectious Disease (CoBRE CBID), the NIH-sponsored Dynamic Aspects of Chemical Biology Graduate Student Training program (DACB) and the Higuchi Biosciences Center, the University of Kansas presented its inaugural Chemical Biology Symposium from Oct. 21 to Oct. 22 at the Oread Hotel and the School of Pharmacy.

The event connected graduate DACB graduate students and CBID investigators with regional scientists and guest speakers to promote the sharing of research associated with chemical biology. Sixteen graduate students gave lightning talks and poster presentations, with close to 100 people in attendance.

“This symposium brings together regional scientists to share their ideas and approaches of chemistry and biology to better understand biologic processes,” said Scott Hefty, professor of molecular biosciences and director of the Center for Chemical Biology of Infectious Disease. “One of our primary goals is to support the research endeavors of this growing scientific community as well as provide professional development opportunities for our graduate students.”

This event included a keynote address by Nozomi Ando, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at Cornell University. Her research employs a combination of biophysical and biochemical techniques to study enzymes in action, and her lab has established X-ray scattering approaches to understand conformation disorder. Ando has received an NIH MIRA award, an NSF CAREER award, and she won an Early Career Award from the American Crystallographic Association.

The symposium also featured invited speaker Jimmy Ballard, professor and researcher with the Oklahoma Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunity, CoBRE in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. His research focuses on the biochemical functions of bacterial toxins and the role of these virulence factors in disease. Over the past decade his lab has defined key differences between C. difficile TcdB from hypervirulent and historical strains of this important human pathogen.  Ballard has written nearly 90 manuscripts and is a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology.

Due to limited space, registration was required and closed on Sept. 30. Another symposium is planned for fall 2023. For more information, contact Hefty via email.

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