CREATE Monthly PI Seminar Series
Event Date: 05 Jun 2015 03:00 AM - 05 Jun 2015 06:00 AM
Event Venue: CREATE Seminar Room, CREATE Tower (Level 2)
1. Prof Rajesh Chandramohanadas, SUTD (SMART-ID collaborator)
Title of talk: Investigating Egress and Invasion for Novel Therapeutic Development against Human Malaria
Malaria infection causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Efforts to control this deadly disease include insect vector elimination or the development of small molecule inhibitors that can impair asexual development of the pathogen. However, emergence of rapid/progressive drug resistance necessitates the discovery of novel therapeutic targets and life-stage events for the development of new lines of chemotherapy. Tightly regulated molecular interactions during egress and invasion of malaria parasites represent suitable check-points for chemical manipulation, however, these mechanisms remain largely unknown. Hence, we used small molecule inhibitors to selectively arrest either of these processes and applied multi-disciplinary approaches to investigate their mode of action. Using broadly specific protease inhibitors, we were able to block parasite exit and elucidated a novel mechanism through which malarial merozoites lyse their host cells to facilitate exit. Further, by employing glycan-like small molecules that mimic sugar structures on invasion-related proteins, host entry by the parasites was efficiently blocked. These investigations resulted in the validation of unique domains present on invasion proteins as viable targets for antimalarial development. Taken together, our research demonstrates that targeting temporally regulated events during egress and invasion can be explored for novel therapeutic development against malaria with limited possibility for the development of drug resistance.
2. Prof Joel Ager, SinBeRISE
Title of talk: Sustainable Solar Fuel Production
A practical method to use sunlight to generate chemical fuels would be a carbon-neutral energy source which could dramatically change the landscape of global energy generation and storage. “Artificial photosynthesis” systems which convert sunlight to energy in the form of chemical bonds are an attractive approach to address this challenge. Here, devices which use sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen will be discussed. For such systems to be sustainable, they must produce more energy over their useful lifetime that was required to manufacture them. Life cycle assessments which consider the energy payback times at the cell level and also at scale of a large scale hydrogen-generating facility will be presented. These assessments emphasize the need to develop systems with lifetimes similar to those of silicon-based photovoltaics (10-20 years) in order to ensure a positive energy payback. The most commonly used approach for integrated solar water splitting employs photocathodes (H2 or hydrocarbon producing) and photoanodes (O2 producing) linked in a tandem geometry. The surfaces of these photoelectrodes can be a failure point under sustained operation due to corrosion. We have found that it is possible to achieve both high performance and lifetime by the use of protection layers which are also tuned for selective carrier contact. Examples of such a strategy will be shown for photocathodes and for photoanodes.