Posted by Pamela Arnsberger on Jun 21, 2018


We are passing around a sign-up sheet for people to work in the Rotary booth on the fourth of July (at the world’s shortest parade!). Other than our major fundraiser, this is our only money raising effort. See Tim for more information

Richard thanked the club for their efforts on his behalf but he can no longer run the beach clean-up so he is interested in finding someone to take over. Al volunteered so go out and support him!

Win shared with us several thank you letters from our community grant recipients.

We also welcomed Matt Wetstein and Victoria Lewis, both of Cabrillo College, as new members of the club.

Win’s debunking has been postponed. It will be held later in July.  

Sandra announced that the RYLA barbecue will be June the 28th at Mission Springs. See Sandra if you wish to share a ride or you can just show up. There is plenty of food.


Sandra Wallace introduced our guest today, Chad Townsend, a doctoral student in bio-engineering at UCSC who is the recipient of our Rotary fellowship. He was a graduate of SLV high school before going to UCSC.



Chad spoke about methods for developing cyclic peptide drugs.  He and his lab want to create a new category of drug to treat disease in different ways.   It reflects a molecular view of disease. Chad explained that proteins are the movers and shakers within the cells of your body. Some communicate; some make enzymes. Drug molecules generally target the proteins because they are often source of disease. They bind by shape recognition.  Most drugs either increase or decrease the rate at which the protein is doing its job.

          One main category of drugs are biologics. The only way they can get into a cell is by being eaten and must be delivered by injection. The 2nd category contains small molecules can permeate the cell lipids but can only impact small molecules. There is a pharmaceutical opportunity in the middle of those…. cyclic peptides such as cyclosporin A for treating organ transplant rejection (or an immunosuppressant). These peptides are big but can penetrate a cell anyway (permeability).

          Chad explained he is focused on the backbone region. This is an important distinction because it affects permeability. We are made of left handed molecules but right-handed ones can make new backbones. How does this giant molecule dissolve in water and get through? It folds itself into a new shape. This mechanism is not there for all peptides and the research question is why and how this occurs.

          Chad went out to acquire the data. He needed a large data set so he created it. He focused on the backbone to see the permeability effect using a donor and acceptor model and then measured to get the rate of flux which is quantified by a mass spectrometry system.  It counts over time anything hitting a detector. You can also get markers for each different compound. But there is a problem if things have the same mass, which is common. It can be corrected by hitting it with argon which breaks it into bits. Chad then takes those fragments to determine what the original molecule was. This causes problems too, but Chad corrected it through programming. He plans to turn all the things he has done into a method for developing cyclic peptides drugs which are permeable and have the desired activity.

          He looks forward to either a post doc, perhaps in Japan or for a future career in the drug industry. We wish him luck!