Small Molecules in Big Biological Systems: The Gooch-Stephens Lecture Series

March 17, 2016
Jon ClardyJon Clardy courtesy photo

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Contact: Tonya Lewis, (254) 710-4656

WACO, Texas (March 17, 2016) – Are you interested in learning how genetically-encoded small molecules can help scientists understand and treat diseases like cancer? Plan on attending the Gooch-Stephens Lectures from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 17, and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 18.

Harvard University's Jon Clardy, Ph.D., will speak.

"Jon Clardy is one of the most well-recognized researchers in the area of natural products, in terms of their isolation, biosynthesis, structure elucidation, mechanism of action and, most recently, the ecological role of natural products," said Daniel Romo, Ph.D., Schotts Professor of Chemistry and co-director of the CPRIT Synthesis and Drug-Lead Discovery Laboratory. "He identifies provocative questions at the interface of chemistry and biology and utilizes a varied array of tools to shed light on these interesting questions."

Thursday's lecture topic is "Explorations in Chemical Biology." A reception will be held before the talk at 4:15 p.m. in the second floor E-wing foyer of the Baylor Sciences Building.

"Professor Clardy will discuss projects from his lab that demonstrate how chemical biology and chemical tools can be used to answer fundamental questions about cell development in various model organisms and human disease," Romo said. "His investigations have led to small molecules that can have great impact in the understanding of cancer biology, malaria and infection and more generally have led to new discoveries that elucidate how small molecules can perturb biological systems."

Friday's lecture, "Aligning Chemical Ecology and Drug Discovery," will also be preceeded by a reception, which will be held at 2:45 p.m. in the second floor E-wing foyer of the Baylor Sciences Building.

"In his second lecture, Clardy will focus on turning the typical drug discovery paradigm on its head. That is, he will show how studying the function of small molecules in their natural environment can aid the ultimate use of those small molecules for treating human disease," Romo said.

The annual lectures, sponsored by the department of chemistry and biochemistry, recognize the contributions of two professors and former department chairmen, W.T. Gooch, Ph.D., and W.R Stephens, Ph.D.

"Attendees will gain great insight into the intersection of the chemical and biological sciences and how collaborative research is enabling fantastic fundamental discoveries that can impact cancer, malaria and other human ailments" Romo said. "Professor Clardy has several unique approaches to drug discovery that will be highly educational and thought provoking for students. He is an excellent lecturer whose talks are always full of information, and he often delivers with some great dry humor!"

The Baylor Sciences Building is located at 101 Bagby Ave., Waco, Texas 76798.

by Jenna Press, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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