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Seminar: Dr. Lukasz Ciesla – Biology is Chemistry: the Quest to Better Understand the Universal Language of Nature
September 8 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
According to the NASA definition, life is a self-sustaining chemical system capable of the Darwinian evolution. Living systems constantly interact with animate and inanimate matter to maintain their highly organized and far from thermodynamic equilibrium status (homeostasis). Small changes to this organized state may result in the system to be living no more. A multitude of chemical interactions occur between living systems and their environments to maintain homeostasis. Our lab has been eavesdropping on some of these chemical interactions to identify naturally occurring molecules that help to maintain or disrupt homeostasis.
In this talk I will present techniques we have been developing to identify some of these molecules. I will discuss our recent work focused on the development of bio-affinity chromatography columns and cell membrane coated nanoparticles for the identification of new natural compounds targeting transmembrane receptors. Additionally, I will present our efforts focused on unraveling the neuroprotective mechanism of action of poorly understood components of human diet, often referred to as dietary dark matter. I will introduce the concept of potentially essential lipophilic soft electrophiles (ELSE) and will discuss the evidence that lipophilic soft electrophiles associating with cell membranes may play an essential role in human nutrition, following the concept of vitamin P proposed by the discoverer of vitamin C. Dr. Szent-Györgyi. Finally, I will present our work focused on certain abundant microbial metabolites that may contribute to disrupting neuronal homeostasis, resulting in neurodegeneration.
Overall, this presentation aims to describe past and ongoing quests in the Ciesla lab as well as map out directions of future endeavors.