Chemistry Department Seminar


Thursday, February 5, 2015, 6:00 PM (The LI-ACS Seminar)

Room S-112

Dr. Tony Taldone (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)

Discovery and Development of Purine-scaffold Hsp90 inhibitors for the Treatment of Cancer

Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is a molecular chaperone exploited by cancer cells to aid in their survival. The recognition of Hsp90 as a critical facilitator for oncogene addiction and survival of cancer cells has opened a promising new niche for cancer treatment. The serendipitous discovery that the broad spectrum anticancer activity of the natural products geldanamycin (GM) and radicicol (RD) was a result of inhibition of Hsp90 resulted in the development of improved derivatives of these natural products. One of these was 17-AAG, a closely related analog of GM, and was in fact the first Hsp90 inhibitor to enter the clinic. However, GM and its analogs suffer from poor 'drug-like' properties and this served as a strong impetus for the development of novel synthetic Hsp90 inhibitors. One class to exhibit enhanced potency and improved pharmacokinetic properties is the purine-scaffold. A number of small-molecule Hsp90 inhibitors based on the purine-scaffold are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for cancer. Here, I will discuss their initial discovery and development into potential anticancer agents.

Thursday, March 5, 2015, 6:00 PM (The LI-ACS Seminar)

Room S-112

Dr. Ling Huang (Hofstra University)

'Spice Tales': Rapid Detection and Quantification of Synthetic Cannabinoids

Since 2008, Designer drugs such as synthetic cannabinoids mixed with herbal products, also known as ’Spice’ have been sold as herbal incenses in smoke shops and online. Many synthetic cannabinoids have been outlawed as Schedule I controlled substance. New and 'legal’ compounds are still being sold around the world, which creates challenges to forensic analysts and law enforcement agencies and causes great harm to unaware users. Our lab successfully utilizes NMR as an alternative to conventional GC-MS method to rapidly identify and quantify emerging cannabinoids. We have also optimized simple extraction technique for these designer herbal drugs prior to optimized HPLC separation and quantification. Our methods can be utilized to accelerate the accurate screening of designer drugs and to reduce evidence backlog in the battle with emerging ’Spice’ products.

Friday, March 13, 2015, 1:00 PM

Room M-136

Prof. Lissette Delgado-Cruzata (John Jay College of Criminal Justice)

DNA methylation, an epigenetic modification, tells us about tissues, lifestyle and disease

Epigenetics refers to heritable modifications that determine a change in gene expression, without modifications to the DNA. Originally discovered as an important mechanism in development and tissue differentiation, today we know that epigenetics is very important in the etiology of several chronic diseases. The best known epigenetic modification is the addition of a methyl group to the position 5 of a cytosine when it is next to a guanine, a CpG dinucleotide, and it is called DNA methylation. As it plays a role in the regulation of gene expression, DNA methylation is essential to all cellular processes and its alterations can change cell functioning. It is believed that epigenetic marks can be passed on from parents to offspring, but are also affected by lifestyle factors; which make them modifiable opening a wealth of applications to our understanding of its distribution and regulation. Since they are not determined by the DNA sequence, DNA methylation patterns can identify twins and have the potential to be used in forensic investigations involving them. As tissue patterns also exist, the unknown origin of a sample can also be determined using epigenetic targeting. In chronic diseases, such as cancer, aberrant DNA methylation is frequently found in tumor tissues of different types, and it has been identified as an early event in carcinogenesis of malignancies of among other organs, breast. Altered DNA methylation in blood has been found to be a marker of high breast cancer risk, and can possibly increase our knowledge of susceptibility to this disease.

Thursday, April 3, 2015, 6:00 PM (The LI-ACS Seminar)

Room S-112

Dr. Yu Chen (Queens College, CUNY)

Electrophilic Cyclizations of Alkynes-Facile Approaches to Heterocyclic and Carbocyclic Molecules

Palladium and gold-catalyzed as well as iodine monochloride-induced intramolecular electrophilic cyclizations of functionally substituted alkynes will be discussed. These regioselective annulations represent new and efficient synthetic approaches to carbocyclic and heterocyclic molecules, including isoxazoles, isoquinolines, indenones, and dibenzoannulen-5-ones. These approaches utilize palladium or gold catalyzed reactions as the key steps towards the production of the final target molecules or intermediate compounds. The new methods start from readily available starting materials and only consist of facile and user-friendly synthetic conditions, while they will serve as valuable tools for the preparation of compounds covering a broad spectrum of fields including synthetic and medicinal chemistry, and the material sciences.

Monday, September 14, 2015, 6:00 PM (The LI-ACS Seminar)

Room S-112

Dr. Howard Peters

Chocolate: Food of the Gods

Chocolate has been a part of our New World culture for thousands of years. This fun presentation includes the ancient history of chocolate, the process of growing, processing, fermenting, drying, conching, tempering, blending and finishing of the cocoa pod, bean and pulp roasting, the chemistry, biochemistry and biology of chocolate along with its health aspects. At the conclusion of the seminar, there will be a free drawing for a ten-pound bar of Guittard chocolate.

Thursday, October 1, 2015, 6:00 PM (The LI-ACS Seminar)

Room S-112

Dr. Sean Devine (Department of Chemistry, LIU Post)

Palladium-Catalyzed Carbocyclization Reactions Involving Carbene Insertions

Transition metal-catalyzed cross coupling has revolutionized the way that chemists assemble carbon-carbon (C-C) bonds. These reactions typically involve palladium-catalyzed bond formation between vinyl or aryl halides and organometallic coupling reagents. Our laboratory is currently interested in developing Pd-catalyzed coupling reactions involving vinyl iodides and N-tosylhydrazones to assemble η3-allyl ligands. Intramolecular trapping with stabilized carbon nucleophiles leads to the generation of vinylcyclopentanes with newly formed sp3 centers. Migratory insertion of carbene ligands derived from N-tosylhydrazones are the key step in these carbenylative carbocyclization reactions.

Friday, October 9, 2015, 1:00 PM

Room S-112

Dr. Deb N. Chakravarti (Pharmaceytical Sciences, York College, CUNY)

Queensborough Community College/York College Dual/Joint A.S. in Chemistry/B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences Program: Opportunities for Queensborough Students

This lecture will discuss what every student should know about the new Dual/Joint A.S. in Chemistry (at Queensborough)/B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (at York) degree program. Information on academic and professional as well as post-graduate opportunities, including the forthcoming program in Pharmaceutical Science and Business leading to the M.S. degree to be offered by York College will be presented.

Friday, October 30, 2015, 1:00 PM

Room S-112

Prof. Marta Concheiro-Guisan (John Jay College of Criminal Justice)

The Challenge of New Psychoactive Substances in Forensic Toxicology

The emergence of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) is an ongoing challenge for analytical toxicologists. Different analogs are continuously introduced in the market to circumvent the legislation and to enhance their pharmacological activity. The most prevalent groups of NPS are the synthetic cannabinoids and the synthetic cathinones. The synthetic cannabinoids activate the endocannabinoid system as marijuana, and the synthetic cathinones act on the monoamine system similar to amphetamine and cocaine. However, both groups show increased potency than their classic drug equivalents, and are causing serious health problems worldwide. From the toxicologists’ point of view, the continuous NPS synthesis and marketing is an ongoing difficulty, since the majority of NPS are not detected by established analytical methods. Their constantly increasing number and the similarity in chemical structures within the groups make their detection an analytical challenge. In this seminar, we will explore the NPS problem, the current pharmacological and toxicological knowledge, and the analytical techniques for their determination in biological matrices.

Thursday, November 5, 2015, 6:00 PM (The LI-ACS Seminar)

Room S-112

Dr. Mingzhao Liu (Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Laboratory)

Semiconductor Nanostructures for High Efficiency Artificial Photosynthesis

Driven by a strong desire for clean and renewable fuel, effective methods of Hydrogen (H2) production have been sought after for a long time. Solar water splitting within a photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell, also known as artificial photosynthesis, has been the most promising method since 1972, when Fujishima and Honda discovered the photolysis of water over a TiO2 electrode under UV radiation. To date the key problem remains how to maximize the solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency using low-cost, earth abundant materials. The seminar will be based on our recent work on using nanostructured semiconductor photocatalysts for high efficiency water splitting, with particular emphasis on the core/shell structures, in which one can optimize the bulk light absorption and interfacial carrier transfer processes independently. The talk will also cover our newly developed time-resolved spectroscopic techniques for operando studies of nanostructured photocatalyst at well controlled PEC conditions, which enables us to directly assess the carrier dynamics during solar water splitting at unprecedented ultrafast picosecond timescale.

Friday, November 13, 2015, 1:10 PM

Room LB-14

Dr. Leah Mechanic (the National Cancer Institute)

Introduction to Cancer Genetic Epidemiology and Opportunities for Future Research

Dr. Leah Mechanic is a Program Director in the Genomic Epidemiology Branch of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program in the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. Her responsibilities include managing a portfolio of grants related to genetic factors modulating susceptibility to cancer. She focuses on identifying research gaps related to methods and approaches for measuring associations between genetic variation and risk of cancer. Dr. Mechanic has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics and an M.P.H. in Epidemiology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She first came to NCI as a Cancer Prevention Fellow in 2001, to study the relationship between DNA repair and cancer susceptibility. In her presentation, Dr. Mechanic will discuss concepts and findings from cancer epidemiology research and highlight opportunities for future work in this area. She will also describe her career path and the role of a Program Director at NCI.

Chemistry Home

About the Department

Chemistry Faculty and Staff

Courses and Programs

Undergraduate Research

For Visiting Students

Other Links