April 2, 2010
Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
ATLANTA - Just as accidents on city streets create a mess for drivers, misbehaving enzymes at the cellular level can wreak havoc for the molecules moving from one part of a cell to another.
Without enzymes, proteins that are necessary for an organism's chemical reactions, a cell won't be able to build parts properly, or digest food. Plus, without functioning enzymes, they couldn't be used to kill other disease-causing microorganisms, or help the fermentation process involved in making wine, beer or cheese.
The study of these chemicals is a complex field requires inquiry into multiple disciplines, and more than 100 scientists from the Southeast will converge to share their knowledge and research during the inaugural Southeastern Enzyme Conference April 10 at Georgia State University.
"Enzymes are one of the most highly sophisticated and integrated systems, because within a cell we have thousands of molecules which are continuously produced or are changed by enzymes, which are ultimately used to make the cell function," said Giovanni Gadda, associate professor of biochemistry.
Attendees include presenters from universities such as Georgia State University, Virginia Tech, Auburn University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Tennessee, the University of Alabama, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Emory University, the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.
"Enzymes are certainly at the core of biological processes," Gadda said. "It's a very interesting field in science, and you really need to get at the fundamental laws and values of physical chemical areas, and apply these to the study of these wonderful biological catalysts."
During the conference, graduate students, post doctoral researchers and professors will present a wide variety of research on enzymes, including basic science and medically relevant issues, such as enzymes like HIV protease, which is essential for the life cycle of HIV. A presenter will also discuss oxalate oxidase, an enzyme involved in the formation of kidney stones.
The conference is modeled on the Midwest Enzyme Conference, which first started in 1981. For more information about the conference, visit http://chemistry.gsu.edu/sec.