CORVALLIS - Some of the nation's leading scientists in the field of structural biology will speak at the 2001 Milton Harris Minisymposium on Friday, May 18, at Oregon State University. The topic is "Structural Biology: 50 Years After the Alpha-Helix."

The event is being presented in conjunction with OSU's year-long Linus Pauling Centenary, the 100th anniversary of the birth of this two-time Nobel laureate and OSU alumnus.

One of Pauling's greatest achievements in biochemistry and structural biology was the discovery of the alpha-helix, a central conformational feature of proteins. His landmark paper, "The Structure of Proteins," was published 50 years ago.

The minisymposium will be at the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus, beginning at 8:45 a.m. It is free and open to the public.

OSU professor of biochemistry and biophysics Pui Shing Ho will receive the Milton Harris Award for Basic Research from the OSU College of Science, and present a featured lecture titled "The Changing and Exchanging Faces of DNA." The author of several notable recent publications in this field, he will discuss the structures that allow movement of DNA between chromosomes to generate genetic diversity, the repair of damaged DNA, and how DNA changes its shape at the atomic level.

Other speakers and their topics include:

  • Alexander Rich, a member of Pauling's research group in the 1950s, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, member of the National Academy of Sciences and recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Science, who will discuss "A Role for Left-Handed Nucleic Acids in a Right-Handed World." 
  • David Davies, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Institutes of Health and a Pauling colleague, will discuss "From the Alpha-Helix and the Beta-Sheet to Gamma-Globulins."
  • Brian Matthews, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a professor at the University of Oregon, will discuss "Proteins Off, On and Around DNA."
  • Rachel Klevit, a former Rhodes Scholar and professor at the University of Seattle, will discuss "Structure of the BRCA1-BARD1 Heterodimes: Two Rings are Better Than One." 
  • P. Andrew Karplus, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at OSU and recipient of the Pfizer Award from the American Chemical Society, will discuss "Getting High on Protein Structure."

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Pui Shing Ho, 541-737-2769