Here's a look at some of the scientists whose ideas helped shape the Advanced Science Research Center
Lesley Davenport ties knots in DNA telomeres
"You can inhibit this enzyme by locking the telomeres into the quadruplex, which opens an avenue for chemotherapeutic development," explained Davenport, professor of chemistry at Brooklyn College. Seeking the best spot to attach a quadruplex lock, she inserts a specially synthesized, fluorescent analog of guanine (a building block of DNA) in different places in telomeric DNA.
Since fluorescence can help scientists visualize structures even at low concentrations, she recommended that the ASRC include fluorescence spectroscopic equipment.
Daniel L. Akins thinks small — very small
Such a sensor could, with the right blood-sampling system, alert people with diabetes to the presence of hydrogen peroxide, which indicates insulin deficiency. The ASRC's advanced imaging equipment will give Akins an even more precise view of the normally invisible world in which he works.
Fred Moshary watches the wind
"The main thing we're looking for on the health side is pollution," Moshary said. "On the environment side, aerosols [liquid or solid particles] figure into the global warming equation, primarily because they represent a cooling effect, not a warming effect." Carbon dioxide, water vapor and other components of air also have an impact. "When you're studying the global warming picture, you have to look at the overall energy balance."
Marie Filbin hits a nerve — and enables it to regenerate when injured
Filbin, a Distinguished Professor of Biology at Hunter College, found that cyclic AMP, a molecule present in every cell, counteracts MAG. The next step is for colleagues to conduct preclinical trials that could lead to treatment of paralysis and nerve-killing Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and motor neuron diseases.
She said ASRC's labs will make genetic manipulation easier, "so you can induce a neuron to make more of the molecules that you're interested in." The facilities also "will bring in some top neuroscientists to do their research, and that will be a big plus for me in terms of collaboration and expertise."
Vinod Menon plays tricks with light
Photonics is best known for fiber-optic communications, but research also includes biology, medicine, computer displays and lighting (think light-emitting diodes, or LEDs)—plus the futuristic fields of quantum information processing and quantum encryption, in which data reside on single photons (which are to light what electrons are to electricity). Menon looked forward to using the ASRC's nanofabrication facility and ultrasharp imaging equipment to make his devices.