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Bringing the "Wow" Factor to Chemistry Class

Rutgers chemistry Professor Darrin York and lab support specialist Bob Porcja are using in-class demonstrations to get students more interested in an often intimidating subject.

Reaction Path and Transition States for RNA Transphosphorylation Models

Understanding the mechanisms underlying the catalytic properties of RNA have applications in the design of new biotechnology, and are also implicated in the evolutionary origins of life itself. Isotopic labels provide powerful and sensitive experimental probes to fingerprint the nature of transition states in biochemical reactions, which in turn can characterize different reaction mechanisms, particularly with the aid of first-principles calculations from fundamental physical laws in quantum mechanics.

Molecules of RNA Form Biological Catalysts

It is a fundamental question as to how molecules of RNA, with its limited chemical repertoire of fairly inert nucleotide units, are able to form biological catalysts that can speed up reaction rates by 10 million-fold or more. The answer to these questions have implications into the origins of life itself which may well have started from ribonucleic acids in an RNA world.

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