Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Free Public Lecture at A&M-Kingsville Oct. 18 Looks at Plant Genetics and the Possible Therapies It May Yield

KINGSVILLE - October 12, 2007

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

A noted biochemist comes to Texas A&M University-Kingsville to talk about his research with a molecule in plants that may hold a key to better health in humans.

Dr. Seiichi P.T. Matsuda will deliver a lecture on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 5 p.m. on the production of naturally occurring chemicals called terpenoids. The event will be held in room 251 of Nierman Hall, located on Santa Gertrudis Avenue between Armstrong Street and University Boulevard in Kingsville.

Terpenoids are found in a number of important pharmaceuticals. One example is the drug paclitaxel, which is a terpenoid isolated from tree bark and used to treat a variety of tumors. They also are widely used for their aromatic qualities, as they contribute to the scent of eucalyptus and the flavors of cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

According to Dr. Gregory A. Moehring, professor and chair of chemistry at A&M-Kingsville, terpenoids are truly important molecules worth understanding. “Terpenoids are crucial molecules for many biological systems. Vitamins A, D and E, as well as cholesterol and steroid hormones, are examples of terpenoids.  Plants control growth and regulate development through the action of terpenoids.”

Matsuda is the chemistry department chair and E. Dell Butcher Professor of Chemistry at Rice University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard, where he studied under Nobel laureate in chemistry Dr. E.J. Corey.

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