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Biology Talk: Julian Chen, Arizona State University

Friday, November 12, 2021 4:10pm to 5pm

3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97202, USA

https://www.reed.edu/biology/seminars/index.html
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Dr. Julian J.-L. Chen is a Professor of Biochemistry at Arizona State University. His research interests are in structure and function of RNA molecules and ribonucleoprotein complexes. His research at ASU focuses on the structure, function and evolution of the telomerase enzyme, an enzyme essential for maintaining telomere length at chromosome ends in most eukaryotes.

"A Journey from Curiosity-Driven Research to Anti-Aging Drug Discovery"

Eukaryotic organisms have the ends of their linear chromosomes protected by telomeres. Telomere length is viewed as a “molecular clock” counting down as the cells divide and age. Upon reaching a critical length, short telomeres lose protective function and trigger cellular senescence, limiting the life span of cells.

In humans, the highly proliferative cells synthesize telomerase to counteract telomere shortening. In contrast, differentiated somatic cells lack telomerase and have limited replicative capacity. Mutations in the genes of telomerase components lead to defects or deficiency of telomerase holoenzyme, which results in a spectrum of disorders collectively called short telomere syndromes. Patients with these disorders show reduced telomere lengths and accelerated aging phenotypes in highly proliferative stem cells in the bone marrow. Thus, understanding the regulatory mechanisms of the human telomerase enzyme would offer plausible means to delay human aging at the cellular and possibly organismal levels.

In this talk, he will tell you a story that started 15 years ago from a small curiosity-driven project leading to a series of discoveries in telomerase mechanism and the development of a high-throughput assay that enables current drug discovery projects.

In Person- Psych 105
Simultaneous Live Stream, Zoom ID- 914 9532 6059 (contact gonyerk@reed.edu for the password).

4pm- Pre-seminar Trivia
4:10pm- Seminar Begins

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