The 10th Annual Frontiers in Chemistry and Biology Interface Symposium
will be held at the University of Delaware on Saturday, May 6, 2017.

This day-long symposium is designed to highlight research in the mid-Atlantic region and provide an intimate environment to foster discussion at all levels. The schedule will include invited and submitted talks as well as poster sessions. There is no charge to attend this symposium, and everyone – Research Scientists, Faculty, Post-Docs and Graduate Students – involved in research from academic, government and local industrial institutions is encouraged to participate.

Our deadline to register has been extended to Friday April 28, 2017.  

Keynote Abstracts and Bios

Carmen Drahl

Lecture: “I Communicate Chemistry (And So Can You!)

Abstract: Most researchers don’t become science journalists. But to thrive in this day and age, every researcher must be an effective science communicator. This talk explains who science journalists are, and what skills help someone thrive in this career. It also explains how researchers can improve their chances of getting work noticed by the press. Finally, this talk will address strategies for communicating more effectively to non-scientists and to policymakers.

Bio: Carmen Drahl is a freelance science journalist whose work has appeared at Forbes and Scientific American, among other news outlets. She’s covered the chemistry behind the search for life on exoplanets, explained a doping case at the Rio Olympics, and revealed the scientific principles that lead to crispy Thanksgiving turkey skin. Prior to becoming a freelancer, Dr. Drahl reported for Chemical & Engineering News, where she covered chemical biology, drug development, and forensic science, and co-founded the award-winning YouTube show “Speaking of Chemistry”. She has also bridged chef R&D and communications for Michelin-starred Chef José Andrés, a lecturer at Harvard’s Science and Cooking course. She earned her Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry with Erik J. Sorensen at Princeton University.

Joel Schneider

Lecture: Racemic hydrogels from self-assembling mirror image peptides: Predictions from Pauling and Corey

Abstract: Hydrogels prepared from self-assembling peptides are promising materials for medical applications, and using both L- and D-peptide isomers in a gel’s formulation provides an intuitive way to control the proteolytic degradation of an implanted material. In the course of developing gels for delivery applications, we discovered that a racemic mixture of the mirror-image b-hairpin peptides, named MAX1 and DMAX1, provides a fibrillar hydrogel that is four-times more rigid than gels formed by either peptide alone – a puzzling observation. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), small angle neutron scattering (SANS), solid state NMR, diffusing wave, infra-red, and fluorescence spectroscopies, and modeling was used to determine that enantiomeric peptides assembled into a structure predicted by Pauling and Corey in 1953, which provides the molecular basis for the increased mechanical rigidity of the racemic gel. Molecular level understanding of the peptide hydrogel network allows the rational design of materials for specific applications, for example, multiphase transitioning gels that facilitate the suturing of ultrasmall blood vessels.

Bio: Joel Schneider received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Texas A&M University with Jeffery Kelly and then went on to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics where he was a George W. Raiziss Fellow with William DeGrado studying protein design. In 1999, he began his independent career at the University of Delaware as an assistant professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and was promoted to associate and then full professor in 2009 with a secondary appointment in Materials Science and Engineering. He joined the NCI in 2010 as lab Chief of the newly established Chemical Biology Laboratory. He currently serves as Editor in Chief of Biopolymers-Peptide Science, the journal of the American Peptide Society. The Schneider group designs and characterizes novel materials for use in tissue regenerative therapy, parenteral delivery of therapeutics, delivery of cells, and antibacterial therapy. We are particularly interested in peptide and protein-based hydrogel materials formed by self-assembly mechanisms. Our work spans molecular conception, materials synthesis, nano- and bulk mechanical materials characterization, cell-material interactions, biocompatibility, and assessment of performance efficacy. Our basic research establishes how material composition and structure influences material function, and lays the foundation to ultimately translate materials to the clinic.