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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 20, 2008

Harvesting medicines, chemicals from nature is subject of lecture Oct. 25

"Chemicals from Nature: Toxins to Treatments" is the title of a free, public lecture to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 in Room 40 of Schaeffer Hall.

Jim Gloer, Roy J. Carver/Ralph L. Shriner Professor of Chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Department of Chemistry, will present the lecture and discussion session.

Part of the CLAS 2008 Saturday Scholars lecture series, the talk will consist of a brief, general introduction to the natural products field, and will include some discussion of fungal products, the focus of Gloer's own research. Gloer and his colleagues study biologically active natural products produced by fungi, with an emphasis on the discovery of new antibiotics and potential anticancer agents.

"Natural products" are certain kinds of chemicals produced in nature by plants, animals, and microorganisms. Such chemicals are also referred to as "secondary metabolites" because, unlike "primary metabolites" that include sugars, amino acids and proteins common to all organisms, a certain natural product is sometimes found in only one specific kind of organism.

Gloer notes that natural products have been important to humankind for thousands of years, with applications ranging from traditional folk medicine to modern chemotherapy. Examples of medically important natural products range from antibiotics such as penicillins to anticancer drugs such as taxol/paclitaxel.

Gloer, who came to the UI in 1984, has had research supported continuously since 1989 by grants from both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is a recipient of an NIH Research Career Development Award, a Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award, an NSF Grant Extension for Special Creativity, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He was named a CLAS Collegiate Fellow in 2004, and received a Regents Award for Faculty Excellence in 2007. Gloer and his co-workers have published approximately 125 papers in peer-reviewed journals and have been awarded 10 patents.

Other events in the 2008 Saturday Scholars series will are:

--Nov. 1: "Medicine vs. the Media," presented by Julie Andsager, School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

--Nov. 15: "New Iowa Writers: Readings by Students," presented by Jae Choi, Iowa Writers' Workshop; Hali Felt, Nonfiction Writing Program; Gabriel Houck, Nonfiction Writing Program; and Ted Thompson, Iowa Writers' Workshop.

All Saturday Scholars presentations begin at 10 a.m. in Room 40, Schaeffer Hall, the southeast building on the UI Pentacrest. Each session will last about an hour, with a presentation of about 40 minutes followed by a question-and-answer session. Refreshments will be served.

For more information on the series visit

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the college in advance at 319-335-2610.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, UI News Services, 319-384-0009,; Carla Carr, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 319-335-2818,