Novus Lecture

May 2

4:00pm - 5:00pm

Location: Olin Hall 205

Join the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for this special lecture, sponsored by Novus Therapeutics, Inc.

Peering into the Lipid World
Neal K. Devaraj, PhD
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of California, San Diego

Abstract: Lipids remain one of the most enigmatic classes of biological molecules. Lipids were likely one of the first components necessary for life, yet our understanding of how lipid membranes could have arisen spontaneously is a mystery.

Human cells produce thousands of unique lipid species, but the purpose for such diversity remains unknown. Dysregulation of lipid metabolism is a key factor in some of the most common diseases that afflict human beings.

This presentation will cover Dr. Devaraj's lab's efforts in using imaging and chemistry to understand the assembly and function lipids. They are watching the formation of artificial cells that consist of synthetic membranes that can continually reproduce. They are designing specific chemical reactions to manipulate and image lipids within living cells during cell death and disease. The ultimate goal is to answer fundamental questions about the origins of lipid membranes and build a functional understanding of the diverse array of lipids present in life today.

Speaker: Neal. K. Devaraj received a dual bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctoral degree in chemistry from Stanford University. His research group is interested in applying bioconjugation chemistry to problems in bottom-up synthetic biology, with a focus on developing synthetic cells. His research efforts have been recognized by the 2017 ACS Award in Pure Chemistry, the 2018 Blavatnik National prize in Chemistry, and the 2019 Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry.