Every week, senior researchers in each department at ASDRP give public seminars presenting the current state of the field and disseminating how their research at ASDRP fits into the broader context of the frontiers of modern science and engineering. Colloquia are public events, and anyone can join. Click on the "Join the Colloquia" link to add the event to your calendar.

Research Shorts

Department of Biological, Human and Life Sciences

Tuesdays @ 8:00-9:00 PM PST

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

No Biology Colloquium this week. See you next week!

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Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics

Fridays @ 8:00-9:00 PM PST

Friday, April 23, 2021


Role of Piperine as a Bioenhancer in Thymoquinone Encapsulated Nanolipid Carriers

Nigella sativa, or black cumin, has several medicinal properties, including anti-cancer and anti-dyslipidemic properties. Thymoquinone has downsides, most importantly low bioavailability due to poor aqueous solubility. One possible solution to this issue is to use nano lipid carriers (NLCs), lipid vesicles that can encapsulate a drug, such as thymoquinone, and enhance the oral absorption and bioavailability. Piperine, a major component of Piper nigrum (black pepper) is a bio enhancer for a wide variety of drugs and is found to increase the oral bioavailability of curcumin. A combination of piperine and thymoquinone encapsulated in NLCs could increase the therapeutic effects of thymoquinone. Due to its strong anticancer potential, a combination of piperine and thymoquinone encapsulated in NLCs can be a suitable treatment. We want to investigate in vitro anticancer, absorption, and permeation studies on caco-2 cell lines and C.elegans of these thymoquinone and piperine encapsulated NLCs. We also aim to explore the toxicity of these NLCs on caco-2 cell lines and C.elegans in order to determine how viable they are as a treatment. Finally, we are using silico methods, including molecular docking, to further understand how thymoquinone reacts with receptors in the body. This is important to figuring out how thymoquinone functions as a drug. By enhancing the oral bioavailability of thymoquinone, we hope to provide a novel anticancer and anti-hyperlipidemic therapy that is a viable alternative to the cancer therapies already on the market.

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Researcher: Shreyas B., BASIS Independent Silicon Valley

Advisor: Renganathan, Medicinal Biochemistry

Keywords: Thymoquinone | Piperine | Nanolipid Carriers | Bioavailability

Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics

Fridays @ 8:00-9:00 PM PST

Friday, April 23, 2021


The Role of Natural Products in Organic Synthesis

Natural products have historically been used as traditional medicines for various ailments such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and other diseases. Natural products in the past few decades have taken on a central role in chemical synthesis. Here, two natural products- andrographolide and Psychrophillin F- will be depicted in-depth, and each covers a different aspect of natural product chemistry. Andrographolide is a diterpenoid in which research deals with chemical modification of a relatively abundant natural product to amplify biological activity. In contrast, Psychrophillin F, a cyclopeptide, deals with the total synthesis of a natural product with limited abundance. Here, the work on both of these compounds in our group will be exhibited as well as prior research which corresponds with our own.

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Researcher: Lakshman S., Amador Valley High School

Advisor: Njoo, Organic, Medicinal Chemistry

Keywords: Organic Chemistry | Chemical Biology | Medicinal Chemistry | Natural Products

Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Wednesdays @ 8:00-9:00 PM PST

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


Machine Learning Techniques in Drug Discovery and Molecular Synthesis

Traditional routes of drug discovery entail intensive synthetic development requiring time, effort, and millions of dollars in research funding. With computational methods such as molecular docking, researchers have been able to identify compounds that have the potential to bind to and activate/inhibit specific biological processes before going through the lengthy process of synthesizing and performing invitro screening on a large library of compounds. However, shortfalls in these methods include high computational expense and potential inaccuracies such as false negatives or false positives, and this has necessitated a more advanced platform relying on data-driven techniques to identify structural trends in compounds presenting a desired biological activity. Here, a brief coverage of the machine learning algorithms that have shown state-of-the-art performance on multiple tasks in this field.

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Researcher: Tanish B., Dublin High School

Advisor: Downing, Machine Learning & Data Science