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Chemistry Seminar

March 12, 2015
Room 114, Smith Hall 11:00 a.m.

Mr. Tanner Davis

Fullerenol-Based Electroactive Artificial Muscles
Utilizing Biocompatible Polyetherimide

Fullerenol based electroactive muscles could potential greatly benefit the medicinal fields and leads to exciting research in science. The purpose of this research is to design an electroactive polymer that will exhibit a stronger bending movement and be more durable than previous ionic polymer metal composites (IPMC). The authors used atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and bending deformation plots to show the homogeneity and effectiveness of the electroactive polymer. The fullerenol (PHF) and sulfonated polyetherimide (SPEI) polymer exhibited stronger bending deformation than the fullerene-SPEI and the SPEI polymers. The increased durability of the PHF-SPEI complex also makes it a more effective electroactive polymer compared to the fullerene-SPEI and the SPEI polymer. The PHF-SPEI electroactive polymer is a promising candidate for future biomedical devices because they behave in a similar fashion to a humans muscle.

Mr. Callen Feeney

OGlcNAcylation and Phosphorylation Have Opposing Structural Effects
in tau: Phosphothreonine Induces Particular Conformational Order

Alzheimer’s is a crippling neurodegenerative disease that affects millions of people in the United States alone. The molecular mechanisms for what cause this disease are not fully understood and are therefore being widely researched to find a potential cure. In patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, there is a buildup of neurofibrillary tangles in the neurons of the brain leading to neuronal cell death. These tangles are composed primarily of the tau protein that has been phosphorylated. In this article, researchers sought to study the structural effects that phosphorylation has on the tau protein. The researchers found that upon phosphorylation, tau would undergo a conformational change, becoming a poly proline helix. The formation of this structure was quantified using circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. They were able to conclude that the formation of a poly proline helix can lead to tau aggregation and the formation of neurofibrillary tangles inside the neurons of the brain.