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CSUSB science professor part of Salk Institute research team that isolates enzyme found in plants that could guide development of medicines and other products
Sept. 6, 2019
Jason Burke, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Cal State San Bernardino, was a postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute and listed as the first author of a study on how plants can manufacture compounds that help them repel pests, attract pollinators, cure infections and protect themselves from excess temperatures, drought and other hazards in the environment.
Researchers from the Salk Institute studying how plants evolved the abilities to make these natural chemicals have uncovered how an enzyme called chalcone isomerase evolved to enable plants to make products vital to their own survival. The researchers’ hope is that this knowledge will inform the manufacture of products that are beneficial to humans, including medications and improved crops. The study appeared in the print version of ACS Catalysis on Sept. 6.
“By doing structural studies and computer modeling, we could see the very precise positions of arginine within the enzyme’s active site as the reaction proceeded,” says first author Jason Burke, a former postdoctoral research in Noel’s lab who is now an assistant professor at California State University San Bernardino. “Without that arginine, it doesn’t work the same way.”
Burke adds that this type of catalyst has been long sought by organic chemists. “This is an example of nature already solving a problem that chemists have been looking at for a long time,” he said.
Read the complete article at “Key enzyme found in plants could guide development of medicines and other products.”

CSUSB professor emeritus ‘buries hatchet’ with retired U.S. diplomat over commentary about Ethiopia’s Amhara
Sept. 7, 2019
In his column, Alemayehu G. Mariam, CSUSB professor emeritus of political science, wrote: “More than two months after Herman Cohen made his unprovoked, depravedly hateful and  arrogantly insulting comments about the Amhara people, he has finally issued a twitter  apology ‘about the pain and discomfort he caused in the Amhara community.’
“On June 26. 2019, I wrote  a commentary entitled ‘Herman (Harm Man) Cohen’s Second “Coup” in Ethiopia? We Demand an Apology!’
“In that commentary I lambasted Cohen for his insensitive and downright hateful comments about Amharas in Ethiopia.”
Alemayehu concluded: “I have buried the hatchet with respect to Cohen and have moved on to more important things.”
Read the complete article at “Herman Cohen, I accept your apology though it comes more than two months late!

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