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'Visual Biochemistry' Topic for Nov. 20 Hansen Seminar

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013

Stephen Kowalczykowski is the Hansen seminiar speaker at USU

Stephen Kowalczykowski, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Davis, is USU Chemistry and Biochemistry's 2013 Hansen Seminar lecturer. He speaks Nov. 20, at 4 p.m. in ESLC 046.

molecules schematic

Schematic depicting molecules of the DNA repair protein assembling into a filament on an optically trapped DNA molecule. Illustration courtesy of Stephen Kowalczykowski, UC Davis.

Only a decade ago, the ability to watch single molecules of proteins, the building blocks of life, acting on individual molecules of DNA would have seemed the stuff of science fiction. But emerging research now provides a window to see how broken DNA leads to cancer and other serious diseases.

Wednesday, Nov. 20, Utah State University welcomes renowned biochemist and molecular biologist Stephen Charles Kowalczykowski, known to many as ‘Steve K,’ to campus to share cutting-edge research in DNA repair and homologous recombination.

Kowalczykowski, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California, Davis, is featured lecturer for the USU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s 2013 R. Gaurth Hansen Seminar. He presents “Visual Biochemistry: Understanding Biology and Mechanism, One Molecule at a Time” at 4 p.m. in Room 046 of the Eccles Science Learning Center.

Kowalczykowski’s talk is free and open to all.

A pioneer in the application of single-molecule spectroscopy to visualize protein movement of DNA lattices, Kowalczykowski’s research focuses on exploring the underlying principles that govern genetic recombination.

“We can now watch individual proteins acting on single molecules of DNA,” he says. “Visualization is achieved by capturing a single DNA molecule with optical traps or by tethering to a glass surface. Using these approaches, we have imaged enzymes functioning in the repair of broken DNA.”

Kowalczykowski has authored more than 200 publications in leading molecular biology and biochemistry journals, including 15 seminal papers in Nature. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Kowalczykowski is the 10th annual Hansen Seminar speaker. The seminar series honors the late R. Gaurth Hansen, a USU alum who joined the university’s faculty in 1968. A nationally respected biochemist, Hansen served for 16 years as an academic vice president and as Distinguished Professor of Nutrition and Food Sciences and Chemistry/Biochemistry at Utah State. He was named USU Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 1985.

The Hansen seminar series is made possible by an endowment established by William Rutter, co-founder and former chairman of the board of the Chiron Corporation.

For more information about the seminar, contact USU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at 435-797-1619.

Related links:

USU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

USU College of Science

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