Meeting March 10th

March 2020 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
@
Fresh Market Restaurant
2255 E. Wood St.
Paris, TN 38242

Tuesday, March 10th 

Dinner 6:00 pm ($10, $5 for students)
Presentation 7:00 pm
Kid’s Science Center 7:00 pm

Dinner:  Choice of Pork Chops, Grilled Chicken, or Pasta Primavera

Program: An Examination of Drinking Water Disparities in Tennessee: The Origins and Effects of Toxic Heavy Metals

Speaker: Dr. Sujata Guha, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Tennessee State University

Abstract:  Several toxic metals, commonly present in drinking water, are believed to play important roles in the development of cancerous tumors. Although the US Safe Drinking Water Act requires drinking water to meet health standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, violations occur regularly. In this study, we have investigated the role of the two predominant toxic heavy metals identified in the drinking water sources in Tennessee: copper and lead. We have analyzed the levels of copper and lead, as well as the total water hardness among different counties of Tennessee, with different socioeconomic backgrounds. We determined that the effects of lead and copper in drinking water were random, although counties with typically lower average household incomes typically had higher levels of the metals. The contaminant levels were found to remain below the threshold established by the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Tennessee. Water from the Cumberland River was harder than water obtained from other rivers in Tennessee. Furthermore, the total hardness of water did not correlate with the average household income of the various counties.

Speaker Bio:  Dr. Guha is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Tennessee State University in Nashville with expertise in atmospheric chemistry, computational modeling of atmospheric processes, kinetics of atmospheric reactions, spectroscopy, photochemistry, and free radical reaction mechanisms.  She received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Dubuque in Iowa, and both her M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue.  Dr. Guha has served as Chair of the Nashville Section of the ACS and is currently the Graduate Program Director at TSU.

Meeting February 27th

February 2020 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
@
Dry Ground Brewery
3121 Broadway St (Next to Mellow Mushroom)
Paducah, KY 24003

Thursday, February 27th

Dinner 6:00 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm

Dinner:  Pizza from Mellow Mushroom ($10, $5 for students)

Program: Controlling CRISPR-Cas Enzymes with Chemically Modified Nucleic Acids
Dr. Keith T. Gagnon, Southern Illinois University

Abstract:  Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) RNAs (crRNAs) and their associated effector (Cas) enzymes have revolutionized basic biotechnology and are a promising technology for treating genetic diseases. However, CRISPR-Cas enzymes have some unwanted properties, such as off-target gene editing, and are not ideal for drug development. To better understand the role of the crRNA component and the requirements for making CRISPR-Cas enzymes more drug-like, we have explored a variety of chemical modifications to the crRNA. We uncovered rules for modification, such as A-form-like helical structure, flexibility, and moieties with low bulkiness as keys to chemical compatibility. We also identified several critical positions that seem to require a 2′ hydroxyl on the RNA ribose ring and are working to understand this dependency and ultimately remove all labile RNA nucleotides from the crRNA. Using chemically modified nucleic acids, we have also created potent inhibitors of the CRISPR-Cas9 enzyme. These small nucleic acid-based inhibitors (SNuBs) bind with very high affinity and can block gene editing inside of cells. CRISPR SNuBs are being further optimized for even greater potency and testing in animal models of gene editing. Together, these studies have improved our understanding of enzyme activity, identified ways to control CRISPR-Cas enzyme activity, and are contributing to safe and practical development of CRISPR as a human therapeutic.

Speaker Bio:  Dr. Gagnon is currently an Assistant Professor in both the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry AND the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in the School of Medicine at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL.  He also serves as the founder and CEO of Guide BioSci, Inc..  Dr. Gagnon received his B.S. and Ph.D. (in Biochemistry) from North Carolina State University—his graduate work being completed under the supervision of Dr. E. Stuart Maxwell—and, he completed a post doc with Dr. David R. Corey at the UT Southwestern Medical Center.  Among Dr. Gagnon’s many awards, he has been recognized with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from North Carolina State University in 2016 and the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award in 2017.

Meeting January 30th

January 2020 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
@
Murray State University
1212 Jesse D Jones Hall
Murray, KY

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Dinner 6:00 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm

Dinner:  Massaman Curry with Chicken, Vegetable Fried Rice, Fruit, Tzatziki with Chips, and Dessert.  ($10, $5 for students)

Program: Slide-Ring Polymers: Molecular Pulleys with New Material Properties
Dr. Tyler Graf, Assistant Professor at Murray State University

Polyrotaxanes are a type of mechanically interlocked molecule consisting of a polymer chain with several cyclic ring molecules threaded onto it, similar to the beads of an abacus. Slide-ring polymers are formed by crosslinking polyrotaxanes through the ring molecules. Each crosslink takes the form of a figure eight or handcuff shaped molecule composed of two covalently bonded rings. This unique morphology allows the position of the crosslinks in the polymer matrix to change in response to applied stress, resulting in radically different physical properties compared to conventionally crosslinked polymeric materials. The properties of slide-ring polymers are attracting interest in their use as extremely stretchable gels, surface coatings, and vibration damping materials.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Tyler Graf is an Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry at Murray State. After a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2012, Dr. Graf taught Physical Chemistry at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Organic Chemistry at Trinity University. His graduate research involved the development of novel sulfur-containing degradable polymers for drug delivery and improvement in the lifetime extension of gold catalysts. As a faculty, he supervised students on fluorescent polymers as a detection method for biological molecules. Dr. Graf’s post-doctoral research at Bucknell University involved designing inflatable blisters and muscle fascia that can be utilized in surgical training mannequins. Currently, Dr. Graf’s lab is investigating the unique properties of slide-ring crosslinking polyrotaxane molecules.

Children are welcome and will attend a special Science Center during the program.

Meeting November 14th

November 2019 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
@
Bethel University, McKenzie TN
Vera-Lowe Center

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Dinner 6:00 pm
Meeting 7:00 pm

Dinner: Deli Sandwich Buffet
Price: $10 (students $5)

Program: “The Chemistry of Whisk(e)y” by Dr. Andrew Evans, Bethel University

Abstract:  The Chemistry of whiskey, or, alternatively, whisky, is a complex topic that we will attempt to explore during this seminar. We will start by looking at a variety of spirits, but by the end we will focus mainly on whiskey, as most of the science that goes into making whiskey can be directly applied to a variety of spirits, including brandy, rum, sake, tequila, vodka, and the like. Much like beer, these spirits are made from the fermentation of any starch containing plants, from barley, wheat, and rye to rice, sugarcane, agave, corn, fruit, and even potatoes. These starchy grains are mashed, their sugars extracted into a solution called mash and the mash is fermented into an ethanol/water solution containing a complex mixture of byproducts. Here is where Liquor and beer go their separate ways; distillation serves both as means to concentrate the ethanol and flavorful byproducts, but to remove some of the more harmful ones. Different techniques can then used to add flavors or subtract them to create neutral spirits like vodka or various flavored liqueurs. Then maturation adds further complexity to the mixture through addition, subtraction, and reaction with the alcohols, acids and other functional groups to create subtle new flavors through complex equilibria reactions that generate these trace congeners. This talk will look briefly at the production of spirits of all types and how they differ, but it will focus on whiskey and its key technique responsible for its highly complex flavor, the science behind barrel maturation, and finally it will look at some of the ways science is trying (and not always succeeding) to bypass nature by catalyzing this maturation process.

Speaker Biography: Dr. Evans earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Bradley University in Illinois. While at Bradley University, he briefly worked for the USDA Agriculture Lab studying plant proteins. He later went on to earn his MS and Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at Purdue University in Indiana studying biofuel catalysis and magnetic nanoparticle synthesis. For the past five years, he has been teaching various chemistry subjects at Bethel University, including Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Organic Spectroscopy. While being a moderate imbiber of whiskey since grad school, he has since become extremely interested in the chemistry behind aqua vitae. He is currently using his time to find out as much as he can about the chemistry of spirits.

 

Meeting February 8th

February 2019 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
@
University of Tennessee at Martin
Watkins Auditorium, Boling University Center
Martin, TN

Friday, February 8, 2019

Dinner 6:00 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm

Program: “The Disappearing Spoon”
Sam Kean

Speaker Bio:

samkean

Sam Kean spent years collecting mercury from broken thermometers as a kid, and now he’s a writer in Washington, D.C. His stories have appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and Psychology Today, among other places, and his work has been featured on NPR’s “Radiolab,” “Science Friday,” and “All Things Considered,” among other shows. “Caesar’s Last Breath” was named the Guardian Science Book of the Year in 2017, while “The Disappearing Spoon” was a runner-up for the Royal Society book of the year. Both “The Violinist’s Thumb” and “The Dueling Neurosurgeons” were nominated for PEN’s Literary Science Writing Award.

The presentation will be followed by a book signing in the Welcome Center.

Children are welcome and will attend a special Science Center during the program.

Meeting January 24th

January 2019 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
@
Murray State University
1212 Jesse D Jones Hall
Murray, KY

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Dinner 6:00 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm

Dinner:  Massaman (chicken) and panang (Vegetarian) curry, jasmine rice, fruit tray, cookies ($10, $5 for students)

Program: Phosphines as Mild Reducing Agents:  Synthesis of Alkenes from Alkynes
Dr. Rachel Whittaker, Assistant Professor at Murray State University

Few mild and selective alkyne reduction methods have been reported, but the resulting alkenes are important functional groups found in many biologically and industrially useful compounds. Thus, a mild and tunable partial reduction of alkynyl carbonyls was developed, utilizing readily available phosphines as the reductants. Tuning of the reaction conditions allowed for either the cis- or trans-diastereomer to be formed with high selectivity. These reaction conditions demonstrated good functional group tolerance and high yields.

Speaker Bio:

Rachel grew up in Cartersville, GA before obtaining her B.S. degree in Biochemistry from Abilene Christian University in 2011. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 with Professor Guangbin Dong working on rhodium-catalyzed C-C activation. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Murray State University where her research is focused on the development of mild redox methodologies.

Children are welcome and will attend a special Science Center during the program.

Meeting October 18th

October 2018 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
@
The University of Tennessee at Martin
Brehm Hall
574 University St, Martin, TN

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Demo Registration 5:30-6
Dinner 6:00 pm
Business Meeting 6:40pm
Demo Show 7:00 pm

All events will beheld in Brehm Hall Room 258.

Most accessible parking lots will be Fine Arts or the Chemistry/Library Lot. Directions: Turn on Mt Pelia Road from University St (Hwy 431). Brehm Hall is behind the Fine Arts Building, the first building on the left.

Dinner: Catered BBQ and sides ($10 per person, $5 for students)

Program: Chemistry Demonstration Show by SMACS Chapters and Student Group

National Chemistry Week (NCW) Web Banner

Click link for pictures of the event.

Meeting September 20th

September 2018 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
@
Union University
1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, TN 38305

Thursday, September 20th, 2018
Dinner @ 6:00 pm, Presentation @ 7:00 pm

All events will be held in the Carl Grant Events Center on campus
Directions and maps:  http://www.uu.edu/about/map/index.htm#Directions

From U.S. Highway 45 Bypass, take Union University Drive west to Walker Road. Turn left on Walker Road. The Grant Center is on your left after passing the Welcome House gate and student housing on the left.

Dinner: Choice of Greek Chicken or Beef Brisket, Salad, Cheesy mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and Chocolate Explosion with ice cream

Program: Learning to Abandon Assumptions and to Ask the Right Questions or A Mild, Metal-Free Method for the Synthesis of Fused Azaheteroaromatics

Dr. E. Blake Watkins, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry,
Union University College of Pharmacy

Bring your children to attend the Science Center!

Abstract:

Carbolines and fused-pyridine heterocycles are ubiquitous structural motifs prevalent in natural products, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, materials and ligand scaffolds, thus highlighting the significance of such structures. Among the isomeric α-, β-, γ-, and δ-carbolines, the most abundant framework in nature is β-carboline. β-Carboline-containing structures possess a wide array of pharmacological properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-Alzheimer, antimalarial, antibacterial, antitumor, anti-HIV and others. Current procedures require multi-step syntheses or extended preparation of starting materials in order to prepare these isomeric structures.  Our interest in metal-catalyzed, C-H functionalization reactions compelled us to explore the synthesis of these agents in a much more economical manner, particularly in regard to the use of metal catalysts/additives and the number of synthetic steps.  The current status of this project and its application to the synthesis of a wide variety of variously substituted pyridines will be presented, with particular attention paid to agents of pharmacological interest

Speaker Biography:

Blake Watkins speaker photo

Blake Watkins serves as Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Founding Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy at Union University.  He completed his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Chemistry at Union and received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Georgia under the direction of Professor Robert S. Phillips.  After doing postdoctoral work at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry under Professor Mitchell A. Avery, he worked as a Research Scientist and Research Assistant Professor in drug discovery and natural products synthesis.  In 2008, he returned to Union to help start the College of Pharmacy.  His current research interests include synthetic method development with application to natural products and drug discovery.

Click link for pictures of the event.