Southwest Georgia Local Section


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Nausea and vomiting or something more sinister? Development of diagnostic tests for measuring exposure to natural and synthetic toxins.

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

to be held on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

at Valdosta State University, University Center, Magnolia Room 2

6:00 pm - Social Period and Dinner

7:00 pm - Speaker Presentation

7:40 pm - Q&A

RSVP by Friday, March 6th to: Melissa Nolley, (229) 333-5798


Symptoms of exposure to natural and synthetic toxins are often very similar to symptoms that would arise from other physiologic conditions. It is crucial that appropriate diagnostic tests be capable of discerning between these causes. My research is centered on the development of diagnostic tests to measure exposure to paralytic shellfish toxins and organophosphate compounds like nerve agents and some pesticides. Paralytic shellfish poisoning generally occurs in coastal regions where red tides form and common symptoms of exposure include tingling and numbness in the fingers and lips. These symptoms are very similar to those of alcohol intoxication and distinguishing between the two based on symptoms alone is very difficult when both alcohol and shellfish have been consumed in the same meal. Data collected from potential exposures to these toxins will be presented along with recent efforts to improve diagnostic tests for identifying paralytic shellfish poisoning. In contrast, exposure to organophosphate compounds causes a specific set of symptoms including twitching and constriction of pupils. Diagnosis of exposure to this class of compounds can be made with moderate accuracy based on symptoms. However, diagnostic tests are needed to determine whether this exposure was the result of an intentional release of a chemical terrorism agent, a case of a misused pesticide, or another more benign cause. Recent developments in methodology to identify organophosphate agents of exposure will be discussed as well as complications associated with sample collection from countries where agent releases may have occurred.


Carotenoid neutral radicals: a new photoprotective pathway to dissipate excess energy?

Posted on February 17, 2015 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)


The Southwest Georgia Section of the American Chemical Society invites you to attend the first for the year local meeting and seminar entitled:

“Carotenoid neutral radicals: a new photosynthetic pathway of dissipating excess energy?”

by Dr. Alexandrina Ligia Focsan

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Valdosta State University


to be held on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

At Georgia Southwestern State University

Marshall Student Center (Faculty Dining Room)

Directions can be downloaded here:,%20GSW%20&%20Campus%20Map.pdf



6:00 pm - Social Period and Dinner ($12 / $5 students)

7:00 pm - Speaker Presentation

7:40 pm - Q&A

RSVP by February 20th to: Dr. Nedialka Iordanov, (229) 931-2334



Carotenoids have crucial roles in photosynthesis. They absorb light to be used in this process and under excessive light they protect chlorophyll from photodamage. When chlorophyll absorbs light, it goes into an excited state and excess energy must be dissipated in the form of heat or fluorescence in order to prevent photochemical reactions detrimental to the plant. A new photoprotective mechanism to dissipate the excess energy from excited chlorophyll involving carotenoid neutral radicals was proposed,[1-3] remaining under further investigation. My research studies in the past 10 years that have revealed the chemistry and properties of carotenoid radicals will be presented.

1. Chemistry of Carotenoid Neutral Radicals A. L. Focsan, A. Magyar, M. Bowman, L. D. Kispert- submitted to Arch. Biochem. Biophys.

2. Structure and properties of 9'-cis neoxanthin carotenoid radicals by electron paramagnetic resonance measurements and density functional theory calculations: present in LHC II? A. L. Focsan, P. Molnár, J. Deli and L. D. Kispert, J. Phys. Chem. B 2009, 113, 6087-6096.

3. Pulsed EPR and DFT characterization of radicals produced by photo-oxidation of zeaxanthin and violaxanthin on silica-alumina, A. L. Focsan, M. K. Bowman, T. A. Konovalova, P. Molnár, J. Deli, D. A. Dixon and L. D. Kispert, J. Phys. Chem. B 2008, 112, 1806-1819.