Writer: Kathleen Phillips, (979) 845-2872,firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Dr. Edgar Meyer, (979) 845-1744,Eemail@example.com
COLLEGE STATION — Flash photography catching molecules in action or a model of a virus molecule docking and invading a cell are among cutting-edge research projects in crystallography, a field that has evolved dramatically over the past 50 years.
The crystallographic analysis of biomolecules makes it possible to create life-saving drugs and to understand the intricate processes of life at the molecular level, according to Dr. Edgar Meyer, biochemist for the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and Texas A&M University professor. “The drugs are saving lives of AIDS and cancer patients.”
Students and scientists from Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico will meet at the 10th annual Southwest MacroMolecular Symposium on the Texas A&M campus, Nov. 19-20. The public is invited.
“Phenomenal changes have occurred during the last 50 years in the life sciences, giving promise to even more spectacular events in the next century,” said Meyer. Presentations from invited lecturers and groups from Texas and neighboring states will describe some of these “cutting-edge” results.
Chemistry Nobel laureate Dr. Johann Deisenhofer will address the group Nov. 19. at 5 p.m. Deisenhofer, who now is Regental Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, did groundbreaking research that determined the structure of the photosynthetic reaction center.
“This structure helped explained how plants can use light to grow and make food — the fundamental basis of agriculture and life on earth,” Meyer noted.
Also speaking on Friday afternoon will be Dr. Robert Sparks, Bruker-AKS Inc., Madison, Wis.; Dr. Keith Moffatt, University of Chicago department of biochemistry and molecular biology; and, Dr. Michael Rossman, Purdue University, department of biological sciences.
Sparks played a critical role in the study of vitamin B12. He helped pioneer the use of computers in the life sciences and continues to write computer programs that help others observe the structures of molecules.
Moffatt directs the crystallographic lab at the “Advanced Photon Source” in Chicago, one of the most brilliant synchrotron light sources in the world, according to Meyer. He will describe a method for capturing the motion of a chemical reaction.
“Rossmann is best known for his studies of virus molecules,” Meyer noted. “His mathematical and computational contributions are used around the world for the study of biomolecules.
“Most recently, he has expanded his studies to describe how a virus can recognize and open a door to a cell and ‘enter without knocking.’ ”
Speakers following Friday’s dinner include Dr. Allen Edmundson and Dr. F. Albert Cotton, two pioneers in the field. Forty years ago, Edmundson helped to determine the sequence and structure of the protein myoglobin. He now is studying immunoglobulins, a class of molecules vital to defense against disease. Thirty years ago, Cotton determined one of the first protein structures in the United States. He now is a leading chemist and professor at Texas A&M.
Saturday’s program will include additional presentations and a poster session from groups around Texas and the southwest. The event will be in the Biochemistry Building on Texas A&M’s West Campus. For more information, contact Meyer at (979) 845-1744 orEfirstname.lastname@example.org