The inaugural session of the new Friendly Emmanuel Natural Science Seminar (FENSS, for the Fenway) was held in October. This seminar series is jointly hosted by the Departments of Chemistry and Physics, Biology, Mathematics, and Psychology and will feature Emmanuel faculty, Emmanuel students, and esteemed invited scientists from across the Boston area. In this first session, Dr. Allen Price, Associate Professor of Physics, and Dr. Benjamin Allen, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, presented about the research they each conduct on campus and beyond. Both research topics have to do with understanding and predicting natural phenomena in everyday life. Dr. Price presented on, “How DNA binding proteins find their way: Your binding site is only a hop, skip and a jump away…” and Dr. Allen presented on “Evolution in time and space.”
Dr. Price investigates the way in which DNA binding proteins are able to determine the specific location in the genome that they are suppose to bind to and quickly work. More specifically, it has been observed through sensitive techniques that proteins actually slide on a DNA molecule. Dr. Price and his team investigate both why proteins slide and how this mechanism plays a role in DNA cleavage. This work is imperative to the field of gene editing and in turn, the treatment of genetic diseases themselves.
Dr. Allen studies evolutionary dynamics through mathematical modeling techniques. Through mathematical modeling, Dr. Allen and his team have derived a condition for when cooperative behaviors will be able to spread across a network via natural selection. They have found that cooperation flourishes when there are strong pairwise ties between individuals.
Stay tuned for more updates about the research going on around campus and in the Department of Chemistry and Physics!