Seminars & Events

Throughout the academic year, the department hosts several seminars whose presenters range from department graduate students to internationally renowned professors and scientists. The calendar below includes all of our department seminars and events. It is updated frequently with titles and abstracts — you can subscribe using Google Calendar by clicking the "+GoogleCalendar" button in the lower right. 


Friday Colloquium Series

Faculty members and graduate students invite professors from other institutions throughout the country and the world to speak at Brown on a Friday afternoon. Friday colloquiua topics span the various fields of chemistry represented by the department. Sometimes, a colloquium seminar is hosted jointly with another department or institute, such as IMNI, the Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation. Friday afternoons, 4:00pm - 5:00pm, MacMillan Hall 115. Refreshments served at 3:45pm.

Organic Chemistry Seminars

Organic chemistry graduate students are required to give at least two seminars. The first is a literature seminar on a topic of recent interest, and the second is the candidate's thesis research. Invited guests frequently present their research at Organic Seminars as well. Tuesday afternoons, 12:00pm - 1:00pm, GeoChem 351.

Inorganic Chemistry Seminars

Inorganic chemistry graduate students are expected to present one seminar per year on their own research or on another topic of current interest in inorganic chemistry. Research associates, faculty and invited guests often present inorganic seminars as well. Thursday afternoons, 12:00pm - 1:00pm, GeoChem 351.

Physical Chemistry Tea Sessions

Physical chemistry graduate students are expected to present one seminar per year. Topics covered include the graduate students' topics of interest with regard to current research, as well as their own research. Thursday afternoons, 3:00pm - 4:00pm, GeoChem 349/351. Light refreshments served at 2:45pm. 


Upcoming Events

  • Jan
  • Cells use various mechanisms to organize reactions and sequester proteins, RNA, and chromatin for transcription, processing, and localization. One emerging mechanism is liquid-liquid phase separation mediated by the association of the disordered domains of RNA binding proteins. RNA-binding proteins FUS, TDP-43, and hnRNPA2 are all associated with RNA granule assembly and all form inclusions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multisystem proteinopathy, respectively. Using these proteins as models, we probe their molecular structure along the assembly pathway and the structural changes caused by disease mutations and post-translational modifications. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and molecular simulation, we see their structure and interactions with atomic resolution. These findings are paired with microscopy and turbidity experiments and cell assays to assess the effect of post-translational modifications and mutations on phase separation, aggregation, toxicity and splicing function. We find that low complexity domains remain predominantly unstructured both before and after phase separation. The exception is TDP-43 where phase separation and protein function is enhanced by a globular domain and an alpha-helical region whose helical extent increases and extends upon phase separation. Arginine methylation and phosphorylation disrupts phase separation, aggregation, and cellular toxicity. Our work points to the potential for post-translational modification to alter assembly, function, and pathological interactions of disease-associated disordered domains.

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  • Mar
  • Apr
  • The recent surprising discovery of the salutary effects of low doses (50-200 ppm) of carbon monoxide (CO) in diseases like pulmonary arterial hypertension, COPD, and arterial wall lesions from balloon angioplasty has initiated intense research effort toward exploration of the therapeutic benefits of this so-called toxic gas. Results of such studies have also indicated that moderate doses (>250 ppm) of CO causes rapid reduction of cancer cells (but not normal cell) through cell apoptosis via disruption of mitochondrial function. In addition, CO dramatically sensitizes cancer cells to chemotherapy and imparts antiproliferative effect toward colon, breast, ovary, pancreas, and other cancers. Because of its toxic nature, it is however difficult to employ gaseous CO in hospital settings. We have recently shown that photoactive and biocompatible metal carbonyl complexes with designed ligands can deliver suitable doses of CO to cellular targets under the total control of light. In addition we have shown that these photosensitive CO-releasing molecules (photoCORMs) can be conveniently used to kill human breast and colon cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner through light-induced CO release. Recently we have been successful in incorporating several fluorescent photoCORMs within the pores of silica nanoparticles (SNPs) and have demonstrated (a) their accumulation within cancer cells, (b) fluorescence tracking of the process of CO delivery within the cancer cells, and (c) their eradication by a dose-dependent CO photo delivery. Results from these experiments as well their promise in translation to animal models will be discussed.

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  • May