The Pownall Lecture in Chemistry brings experts to Wilkes to discuss exciting topics in research, chemistry and more.
Exploring a Role for Titanium in Biochemistry
Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Humans find many applications for titanium: in powerful catalysts, in structural materials, in paints and pigments and more. Yet conventional wisdom holds that biology has very little to do with this metal. Titanium has a reputation for extreme inertness that is belied by data from several experimental systems.
This lecture will address interactions between titanium and biology at the molecular level, with special focus on cases where organisms and/or biomolecules induce the formation of, bind to, or even dissolve titanium minerals. Some potential medicinal implications will also be addressed.
The lecture will run about 50 minutes with a 10-minute Q&A session to follow.
About Ann Valentine, PhD
Ann Valentine is a professor and chair of the chemistry department at Temple University. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she earned her BS at the University of Virginia and her PhD at MIT. After an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Penn State University, Valentine served as an assistant and then associate professor of chemistry at Yale University. She moved to Temple University in 2011.
Valentine’s lab research focuses on bioinorganic chemistry, especially how nature manages metals that are hard to handle because they make insoluble materials. This list includes iron, which is essential for nearly every life form, but also titanium, which in her opinion has been neglected.
Valentine won a National Science Foundation CAREER award, an American Cancer Society Research Scholar award and a Chemical Pioneer award from the American Institute of Chemists. She also won a 2016 Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award and a 2021 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and was named the Temple Honors Professor of the Year in 2015 and 2021. Valentine has co-authored more than 50 scientific publications.
About the Lecture Series
The Pownall Lecture in Chemistry was established thanks to Henry J. and Linda C. Pownall. Dr. Henry Pownall graduated from Wilkes College in 1967 with a master’s degree in chemistry. He earned his doctorate from Northeastern University in physical chemistry with postdoctoral fellowships in molecular spectroscopy at the University of Houston, and biochemistry at Baylor College of Medicine with an emphasis on lipid metabolism.
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