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Peptides: A New Vocabulary in the Language of Life

Our Open Seating Policy will be in effect for this meetup.

Venue capacity = 40 / Estimated day-of RSVP turnout = 50%

Peptides: A New Vocabulary in the Language of Life

Savannah Johnson, Graduate Student

Center for Fundamental and Applied Molecular Evolution

NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution

Emory University

The central dogma of biology, around now for more than 50 years, states that information in DNA is transcribed into RNA which is, in turn, used in the synthesis of proteins. But might there be other molecular languages that could be used to transfer biological information?

Savannah will introduce us to a different kind of information transfer, one which utilizes peptides and can operate independently of DNA. Examples of it are seen in prion-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as mad cow disease and the related Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Understanding the principles of this epigenetic information transfer allows us to make new hypotheses about the origins and early evolution of our modern day DNA-based system.

About Savannah

Savannah is interested in the language of molecules and their translation into structure. She works as part of the Lynn Group at Emory University where she is using peptides, simple building blocks of prebiotic chemistry, to build and transform macromolecular structures in a dynamic fashion. These structures are capable of acting as scaffolds to organize other molecules from the prebiotic chemical inventory, as well as to template new structures. Her interests include the origins of life, astrobiology and geobiochemistry.

For More Information

Check out Savannah's website Starry-Night.Net where she hangs out with planetary science collaborators or listen to her recent podcast for the Center for Chemical Evolution.

Parking and Such

Java Vino is located diagonally across the street from Manuel's Tavern. There is parking behind the building itself and on Williams Mill Road across the street. Manuel's reserves the use of their lots at all times, but parking there hasn't presented a problem for our guests so far.

Enter the cafe on the street level and let them know that your order will count toward our collective tab. They will give you drinks to take upstairs to the Wine Lounge and your food will follow.

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  • Alison

    I think the talk alternated between too technical for a general audience and over-generalization. This made hard to follow and understand what she was trying to convey.

    November 13, 2011

  • Laurie

    Brief reminder: The organizer and contributors are awesome volunteers, and regardless of some critiques, all lecturers are generous volunteers too. Thank you so much to Marc and other contributors for organizing all these events, taking the time to pick interesting topics, reaching out to knowledgeable subject matter experts, setting up the meeting spaces and organizing the venue. We appreciate your generosity, hard work and dedication. Thanks also to the volunteer lecturers and professors who volunteer their precious time to share their knowledge. For the most part, participant’s feedback is positive and/or constructive. Unfortunately, sometimes the feedback is mean spirited and unconstructive. For those who want to offer some constructive feedback, please balance it with positive feedback as well; otherwise, it won’t be heard and will reflect badly on you. I say this with some hindsight and knowledge given I’ve been a people manager/coach/leader for more than a decade.

    November 11, 2011

  • Kathy

    Although much of the lecture material went over my head, I really appreciated Savannah's patience and willingness to talk about some of the information with me, one on one, on a more easily digestible level as the event was winding down.

    November 10, 2011

  • alex h

    Very interesting talk and very knowledgeable speaker. Thank you Savannah.

    November 10, 2011

  • Arthur L.

    See my e-mail. Art

    November 10, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Very good presentation in a good setting.

    November 10, 2011

  • John Y.

    Fascinating and challenging. If this kind of talk were done by an author, it would have been very dumbed down. A year or so ago, the talk would have left me in the dust, but my recent studies in biology and genetics allowed me to understand, although I had to hold onto my hat as train of thought sped on.

    November 10, 2011

  • Shani F.

    Poor presentation. It was hard to discern the focus of the speakers presentation. I think it would be a very interesting topic, if only I could figure out what that topic is.

    November 10, 2011

  • Marc M.

    Thanks, Savannah, for a very informative talk on a fascinating topic. Thanks, everyone, for making this such a well-attended event, full of interesting questions.

    November 10, 2011

  • TJC

    Enjoyed talk.

    November 10, 2011

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