New Horizons in Science

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Wounds, plants, and poisons: Zooming in on cellular processes to solve problems on the farm and battlefield

Topic: Molecular biology
Sunday, October 14, 2018 -
10:05am to 11:05am
Jack Morton Auditorium

Akos Vertes is a chemist and inventor driven to understand how important biological processes work within individual living cells. How are novel chemical and biological weapons metabolized? How do plant-symbiotic bacteria, such as the rhizobia that infect the roots of soybeans, fix nitrogen from the air? What is the role of the microbiome in wound healing?

Vertes and his collaborators are taking on these challenges with a combination of newly developed tools, including an invention called laser ablation electrospray ionization (LAESI), which allows rapid, high-resolution, in situ mass spectrometric analysis of a cell’s metabolites as well as proteins and other components. These projects will inform efforts to rapidly respond to biological threats, improve wound healing, and to develop crops that, like soybeans, can interact symbiotically with bacteria to make their own fertilizer. 

Social media hashtag: #CellsInSitu
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