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10th Symposium Examines Role of Metals in Sickness and Health

The 10th annual Metals in Biology Symposium at Duquesne University will examine the role that metals play in health and the environment.

The symposium runs from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, in the Africa Room of the Duquesne Union. It will feature talks by prominent scientists including members of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Stephen J. Lippard of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dr. Angela Gronenborn of the University of Pittsburgh.

Joining them will be other noted industrial, academic and military researchers including:

  • Dr. Lily Young, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sciences and dean, Rutgers University
  • Dr. Michael P. Hendrich, professor of chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Dr. Lawrence Blume, scientist, RTI International
  • Dr. Rajesh Naik, scientist, Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Dr. Nicole Soucy, advanced toxicology specialist, The 3M Co.

Two students presenting are:

  • John Thomas, department of chemistry, Duquesne
  • Lauren Marbella, department of chemistry, Pitt.

A special session for students will address career options beyond graduate school.

"The more that we learn about metal ions-iron, zinc, copper, lead, mercury and others-in our body and in our environment, the more we can understand their importance, even in trace quantities, to human and environmental health," said Dr. Partha Basu, chair of the symposium and professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. "The Center for Metals in Biological Systems has focused its work on the positive-and negative-impacts of these metals, particularly in Western Pennsylvania.

"This milestone anniversary gives students and practitioners the opportunity to hear from and talk with top researchers in this field, from synthetic chemists to environmental toxicologists and biomedical scientists, all working at the interface of chemistry and biology," Basu added.

Lippard, a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School, has pioneered studies of the intersection of inorganic chemistry and biochemistry, discovering how certain platinum complexes unwind the double helix of DNA and can be used in anti-cancer agents. He will discuss this work in a separate lecture, part of the Bayer School's Distinguished Scientists Lecture Series, Understanding and Improving Platinum Anticancer Drugs, on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. in Duquesne's Mellon Hall.

For more information, call 412.396.6340.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.