Expert to Discuss Middleman in Protein Synthesis

March 06, 2007

Eric M. Phizicky, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, will give a talk titled "tRNA: how and why it’s all dressed up" as part of a lecture series highlighting biomedical research at the University of Rochester.

Phizicky will speak about the tremendous, recent explosion in the understanding of transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA), the middleman in the process of converting genetic code into proteins that make up the body’s structures, carry its messages and execute its functions.  He will speak at 4 p.m. Friday, March 9, in the Case Methods Room (Room 1-9576) at the Medical Center. It’s the latest installment of the “Second Friday Science Social” lecture series geared mainly to faculty, staff and students at the university, though the general public is welcome. The lectures are free. More information is available at http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/sss/. Refreshments will be served following the seminar in the Forbes Mezzanine (Room 1-9580).

Phizicky and research partner, Elizabeth J. Grayhack, Ph.D., are recognized experts in functional genomics and proteomics. They have developed a unique tool that allows assignment of biochemical function by high-speed, systemic examination of each protein in the yeast cell, based on a library expressing all 6,000 genes present in S. cerevisiae. Another application of the library is to systematically investigate how to re-wire defective cells, which could one day help in the design of similar re-wiring methods as a way of treating genetic diseases.

Friday’s talk will focus on recent research that uses functional genomics approaches to reveal more about how tRNA, through its massive and complex modifications, deals with the challenge of having to interact with the amino acid charging system, and the ribosome, to decode genetic messages.

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