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February 17, 2012

Speaker: Dr. Thamara Laredo, Assistant Professor, Lakehead University (Orillia)

Title: Molecular interactions of lipid systems: Gelling oil and understanding the effects of pollutants

Abstract: Polymer gelation has been thoroughly studied for aqueous systems. However, there is very little information concerning the mechanism of gelation of polymers in non-aqueous systems. Development of foodstuffs with lower saturated fat content, as well as delivery of lipophillic nutrients are the motivation for understanding the molecular interactions that give rise to oleogels. In the first part of the talk, I will explain how using Raman and IR spectroscopy we investigated the molecular interactions responsible for such gelation process.

The second part of the talk will focus on the study of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on model membranes. PAHs are chemical pollutants formed by the incomplete combustion of organic matter, which are environmentally persistent due to their extreme chemical stability. They bioaccumulate due to their high hydrophobicity and affect the properties of cell membranes, particularly those of ba! cteria used in bioremediation. The goal of this undergoing research is to study and quantify the interaction of PAHs with phospholipid bilayers using attenuated total internal reflection (ATR) spectroscopy in order to evaluate how PAHs affect membrane fluidity and disruption.

Biography: Dr. Thamara Laredo (Assistant Professor, Lakehead University, Orillia, Ontario. Departments of Interdisciplinary Studies and Chemistry) is an electrochemist and physical chemist with interests in environmental areas such as water and soil remediation. She has extensive expertise in several surface sensitive techniques and especially in Fourier Transform Infrared and Raman spectroscopies. She has publications in electrochemical wastewater remediation, fundamental electrochemistry, molecular interactions of lipids and proteins, and oil entrapment through polymer gelation.