Lisa Warner, Friday Science Seminar guest lecturer

Friday Science Seminar offers double-dip

Lisa Warner, an assistant professor in the Biomolecular Research Center at Boise State University, will get down-in-the-weeds sciencey during this week’s Friday Science Seminar at SOU. She will discuss her findings on how anaerobic bacteria turn inorganic carbon compounds into organic carbon compounds and will also talk about her workshops on the “Chemistry of Color and Art.”

The free lecture will be held in the Science Building Auditorium (Room 151) from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., with light refreshments provided by SOU’s STEM Division. The presentation is part of the Friday Science Seminars program, which offers events each week on topics ranging from astronomy to computer science to this week’s topic, biochemistry.

The first half of the science seminar presentation is about the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium thermocellum. What’s interesting about C. thermocellum is that it grows when introduced to CO2, even though it lacks the enzymes that would normally turn CO2 into formate – the substance needed to cause that growth. Warner has experimentally shown that C. thermocellum instead uses one-carbon metabolism and pyruvate-formate lyase to turn inorganic compounds containing carbon into formate.

If that’s not your speed, you may still want to learn about Warner’s “The Chemistry of Color and Art” workshops. These workshops were designed to get high school and college students, and community members, interested in chemistry and science by presenting it through the lens of art. Warner plans to reflect on the successes and failures of the workshop, and ultimately reassert her commitment to hosting it.

Warner’s research centers around understanding the relationship between the structures and functions of biomolecules. Among other things, she focuses on individual molecules and uses a number of highly complex techniques (one of which is called high-resolution magic angle spinning) to figure out how those molecules are put together.

She researches in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Boise State University.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer