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Interviewee: Dr. Stephen Benkovic, Evan Pugh Professor and Eberly Chair in Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University
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In "Street Corner Science," a ScienCentral original Web Show, mall shoppers are given the chance to sit down with a world-class scientist and him or her any question they like about science, or anything else on their minds. In this episode, renowned chemist: Dr. Stephen Benkovic answers a varied and astute array of questions from some lucky passersby. This video is the first of four more “Street Corner Science” segments, so be sure to check back with ScienCentral.com for more!
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About Our Host
Stephen J. Benkovic was born in Orange, NJ. He received his B.S. degree in Chemistry and A.B. degree in English Literature from Lehigh University, and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Cornell University. After a period as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he joined the Chemistry Department at Penn State University in 1965 and became a Full Professor of Chemistry in 1970, followed by recognitions as an Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, and in 1988 the holder of the Eberly Chair in Chemistry. His work has been recognized by awards and fellowships including: Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, NIH Career Development Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, the Gowland Hopkins Award, the Repligen Award for Chemistry of Biological Processes, the Alfred Bader Award, the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists, and the Christian B. Afinsen Award. In addition, he has been elected to memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
Recently, Stephen Benkovic was awarded a 2009 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science for his groundbreaking contributions to our mechanistic understanding of enzymes. You can see Dr. Benkovic’s Franklin Institute Awards video profile, here.
Benkovic’s recent work has focused on the assembly and kinetic characteristics of the protein machinery that is responsible for DNA replication by T4 phage and yeast; the importance of dynamic coupling of proximal and distal residues in the catalytic cycle of the dihydrofolate reductase enzyme that serves as a paradigm for describing enzymic catalysis in terms of a series of orchestrated protein conformations; the direct intracellular observation by fluorescent imaging; of the de novo purine biosynthesis, and their development of novel cyclic peptides for modulating protein/protein interactions.
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