Speaker: Prof. Sukesh Chander Sharma, Chairman, Department of Bio-Chemistry, Panjab University

Place: Seminar Room, Department of Chemistry, Panjab University

Date & Time: January 25, 2018, 3:45

Abstract: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 was awarded to three scientists, namely Professor Jacques Dubochet, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Professor Joachim Frank, Columbia University, USA and Professor Richard Henderson, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”

This work would revolutionise biochemistry: We may soon have detailed images of life’s complex machineries in atomic resolution. A picture is a key to understanding. Scientific breakthroughs often build upon the successful visualisation of objects invisible to the human eye. However, biochemical maps have long been filled with blank spaces because the available technology has had difficulty generating images of much of life’s molecular machinery. Cryo-electron microscopy changes all of this. Researchers can now freeze biomolecules mid-movement and visualise processes they have never previously seen, which is decisive for both the basic understanding of life’s chemistry and for the development of pharmaceuticals.

Following these discoveries, the electron microscope’s every nut and bolt had been optimised. The desired atomic resolution was reached in 2013, and researchers can now routinely produce three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. In the past few years, scientific literature has been filled with images of everything from proteins that cause antibiotic resistance, to the surface of the Zika virus. Biochemistry is now facing an explosive development and is all set for an exciting future

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