CRiSP Seminar: Prof. Jennifer Heemstra, Emory University

This is a past event

“Bilingual Peptide Nucleic Acids: Encoding the Languages of Nucleic Acids and Proteins in a Single Self-Assembling Biopolymer”

Nature encodes information, structure, and function in two basic forms of biopolymers: nucleic acids and proteins. Although Nature has evolved machinery to read the nucleic acid code and translate it into amino acid code, the extant biopolymers are restricted to encoding amino acid or nucleotide sequences separately, limiting their potential applications in medicine and biotechnology. We demonstrate the design, synthesis, and stimuliresponsive assembly behavior of a bilingual biopolymer that integrates both amino acid and nucleobase sequences into a single peptide nucleic acid (PNA) scaffold to enable tunable storage and retrieval of tertiary structural behavior and programmable molecular recognition capabilities. Incorporation of a defined sequence of amino acid side-chains along the PNA backbone yields amphiphiles having a “protein code” that directs self-assembly into micellar architectures in aqueous conditions. However, these amphiphiles also carry a “nucleotide code” such that subsequent introduction of a complementary RNA strand induces a sequence-specific disruption of assemblies through hybridization. Together, these properties establish bilingual PNA as a powerful biopolymer that combines two information systems to harness structural responsiveness and sequence recognition.


“Self-Care Is Not the Enemy of Performance”

The highly competitive nature of academic environments might seem to suggest that success can only be obtained at the cost of taking good care of oneself. However, sacrificing self-care can be extremely harmful. This seminar will discuss ways that high performance and self-care can be mutually reinforcing and produce long-term success. A key goal is for each person to take away a set of practical strategies and habits they can employ to support their mental and physical health while also supporting their future success in research.


Registration required.

Seminar LINK will be sent after registration is completed.

Friday, May 14, 2021 at 10:00am to 12:00pm

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