Timothy Lash will present the fall College of Arts and Sciences Lecture at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Old Main Room at the Bone Student Center. His talk is free and open to the public.
Lash, a distinguished professor of organic chemistry, is a scientist who uncovers the mysteries of organic chemistry. His work has been honored with multiple grants from the National Science Foundation.
The title of his talk will be Porphyrins – Nature’s Rainbow Coalition. Porphyrins are often referred to as “the pigments of life.” They are a type of stable pigments that are found in nature.
One example is heme, a component of the protein hemoglobin that allows oxygen to be transported in the blood, making blood red. “Porphyrins answer basic questions – Why is blood red? Why is grass green?” Lash said, noting that heme occurs in many other biological protein systems. “Hemes are involved with many enzymes, providing the means by which nature itself does chemistry.”
Discovering the gossamer web of compounds and how they fit into nature’s pathways is the goal of Lash and his team of researchers. The team delves into the intricacies of porphyrin pathways, rearranging them and seeing how they react. Lash has long studied porphyrins. His doctoral research concerned the synthesis of isocoproporphyrins – abnormal metabolites that are associated with patients suffering from diseases of heme biosynthesis (porphyrias). He also focused on porphyrins that are found in oil shales and petroleum that are known as petroporphyrins.
Lash joined Illinois State in 1984 and achieved the rank of professor in 1993. In 1986, he received a Research Initiative Award and was selected for a College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Research Award in 1993. He received the Outstanding University Researcher Award in 1995 and the ISU College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship in 2005. In 2000, he became an ISU Distinguished Professor.
While here at the University, he has received more than 20 individual research grants worth $2.4 million. More than 100 undergraduate students have worked on these projects, and many graduate students have carried out research under his direction.
Lash has chaired or co-chaired 66 master’s theses, eight of which were selected as the best theses in science. He has published three book chapters and nearly 180 papers in international research journals such as The Journal of Organic Chemistry, Angewandte Chemie, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, Organic Letters, and Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry.
For more information, contact CAS at 438-5660.