Tag Archives: Special Lecture

Possible origins of antibiotic resistance: A biochemistry perspective

  Dr Valerie Soo, Pennsylvania State University, USA

Royal Society of New Zealand 2016 Hamilton Lecture

RSNZ Manawatu Branch August 2016 meeting

7.30 pm Tuesday, 16 August, Te Manawa – Art Gallery, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North

 Enzymes are the protein molecules that accelerate chemical reactions in all types of cells. Most enzymes are designed for specific functions, for example certain enzymes will break down antibiotics resulting in antibiotic resistance. This specialisation suggests a lack of flexibility but we know that enzymes do develop novel functions, so how does this happen? If enzymes are designed for one role, how do they develop novel functions?

Whilst doing her PhD, Valerie Soo discovered that many enzymes in the laboratory bacterium, Escherichia coli, have weak secondary functions. When placed in environments where toxins or antibiotics were present, these secondary functions enabled the bacteria to grow in almost one third of these environments. The unexpected development of antibiotic resistance shows the possible role of weak secondary functions and how they help to evolve new functions in proteins.

Dr Valerie Soo completed her undergraduate degree at Monash University Malaysia and her PhD at Massey University. Valerie’s doctoral research on ‘promiscuous proteins’ changed the way that we think about enzyme evolution and led to her being awarded the 2015 Hamilton Memorial Prize by the Royal Society of New Zealand, which is awarded annually for the encouragement of early-career researchers.  Valerie is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Pennsylvania State University, USA.

All warmly welcome

Royal Society of New Zealand: Climate Change Ten by Ten series

 Ten things you didn’t know about climate change …

 Professor Tim Naish and Professor James Renwick, Victoria University of Wellington

RSNZ Manawatu Branch July 2016 meeting

7.30 pm Thursday, 7 July, Palmerston North Public Library, George Street, Palmerston North

Climate change is already redefining coastlines and the weather, both here in New Zealand and around the world. But will it affect me and what can I do about it? Tim Naish and James Renwick will give their take on this biggest of issues – from the very local to the global.

Professor Tim Naish is Director of the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, where he and his team use rock and ice cores to look at how the Antarctica ice sheets affected global sea-levels in past warmer periods and what this means for our future.

Professor James Renwick is a Professor of Physical Geography at Victoria University of Wellington where he indulges his fascination for all aspects of the climate system, from the tropics to the poles, and from thousands of years in the past to hundreds of years into the future.

All warmly welcome