The Texas A&M University Chapter of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, will present "Old Biology Inspires New Chemistry" by Dr. Marcetta Y. Darensbourg -- the 2011 Sigma Xi Distinguished Scientist -- Friday (Dec. 2) at 3 p.m. in the Stephen W. Hawking Auditorium of the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy.

Darensbourg's lecture will explore lessons that Nature provides in the form of hydrogenase enzymes, the biological catalysts found in microorganisms that control hydrogen in biology. Hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant of all elements and the simplest of all molecules. These amazing catalytic sites use Earth-abundant elements -- iron, nickel and sulfur -- to perform such reactions as are found in fuel cells that require platinum as catalysts.

Darensbourg, a distinguished professor of chemistry, will address synthetic approaches to building these molecular catalysts in the chemist's laboratory.

Darensbourg joined the faculty of Texas A&M in 1982 after holding academic positions at Vassar College and Tulane University. She is a native of Kentucky, with a doctorate from the University of Illinois. She was trained as an organometallic chemist with earlier research programs in transition metals. Her recent research in the synthesis, characterization and understanding of molecules that mimic hydrogenase metalloenzymes lured her into the new field of bioorganometallic chemistry.

Sigma Xi is an international, chapter-based organization dedicated to nurturing the research enterprise in all fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Unique among scientific honor societies, Sigma Xi has a broad outlook that scans the spectrum of science and technology and is committed to the core values that unite across disciplinary boundaries.

For additional information about the lecture, contact Michelle Sullens at (979) 458-4066.


Sullens Michelle

  • Dr. Marcetta Y. Darensbourg

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