Houston, TX 77005
4:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, 2013
On Campus | Alumni
ABSTRACT: The genome’s vulnerability to damage by absorption of solar ultraviolet (UV: 400 to 100 nm) radiation has sustained interest in the UV-induced chemistry of DNA for decades. UV rays from the sun can cause skin cancer – the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the USA and worldwide. High-energy electronic states are generated when DNA absorbs UV radiation. These states are at the heart of a complex chain of events that lead to carcinogenesis and aging in humans and in other organisms. Recent findings suggest that DNA has a variety of energy dissipation tricks available to it when exposed to UV light. DNA often shakes off the absorbed UV energy harmlessly, but occasionally this excess energy triggers a chemical reaction that alters the DNA’s molecular structure. Therefore, the question arises as to what determines whether or not DNA resists damage by UV radiation? In this seminar, I will survey recent efforts in our group at understanding the nature and evolution of these high-energy states as well as their connections to DNA damage. Funding from the National Science Foundation is gratefully acknowledged (CHE-1255084).