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Scientific Seminar to Discuss Bee Venom at Juniata

(Posted December 7, 2000)

Dr. Lorraine Mulfinger, visiting assistant professor of chemistry for the 2000-2001 academic year, will present "Interdisciplinary Science at Juniata: Designing Drugs and Breaking a Patent" at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 13 in Good Hall 202 on the Juniata College campus.

The seminar will discuss a simpler chemical compound similar to melittin, a small protein from honey bee venom, and the benefits of its use.

The seminar will describe the current efforts of two Juniata seniors, Nina Maouelainin and Erin McElroy, Drs. Bill Russey and Paul Schettler who assisted Mulfinger in advising the project, and a team of junior biochemistry students. They designed, synthesized, and tested a simpler compound that mimics melittin?s patented drug-enhancing activity, but this compound is easier to administer, safer to use, and cheaper to produce.

The role of computational chemistry in such design efforts will also be described. This research may lead to the development of new synergistic agents to enhance antibiotic therapies.

Dr. Mulfinger attended The Pennsylvania State University where she earned her bachelor?s degree in microbiology, her master?s degree in veterinary science, and her doctorate in veterinary science with a minor in biochemistry.

Since 1996, Mulfinger has served as the affiliate assistant professor of kinesiology at The Pennsylvania State University. She has also worked as the program coordinator at The Pennsylvania State University for the Center for Locomotion Studies (CELOS) since 1994. The thesis for her master?s degree and her dissertation both concerned melittin. She earned the Research Career Reentry Award from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging in 1998 and was an invited guest to the 1997 Annual Brookdale Retreat.

The Bookend Seminar is free and open to the public. This seminar will be presented using non-technical language that will be appropriate for a general audience.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.