Lake Erie College welcomes Michael Fricke to campus for his Arsenic talk on April 5th in Dickinson Auditorium in Austin Hall.
About the Arsenic: Arsenic minerals such as realgar and orpiment were known to our ancestors and used by their healers. Technological progress and hatred of the enemy led to the first occupational exposure to arsenic. Bronze Age smiths forged crude yet superior weapons while unintentionally poisoning themselves with their new smelters. Albertus Magnus succeeded in isolating elemental arsenic in 1250 AD and Arsenic’s suitability and efficiency as a poison led to its medieval nicknames, “king of poisons” and “inheritance powder”. Arsenic will be described at the intersection of many pivotal moments in human history and as critical to the beginning of scientific disciplines including forensics, toxicology, organic chemistry and the research driven pharmaceutical industry. There are legacy risks resulting from our long experience with arsenic such as arsenical pesticides that were historically loaded onto agricultural fields. Current challenges include the revelation of geological arsenic in Bangladesh and an on-going mass-poisoning from elevated arsenic in their drinking water.
Biography: Mike Fricke is a drug development chemist at Olon Ricerca Bioscience and was the analytical lead for Molnupiravir, the first approved oral treatment for COVID-19. His graduate and post-doctoral research was devoted to the study of arsenic culminating in the discovery, synthesis and isolation of dimethylthioarsinic acid (DMTA). DMTA has since been identified as the most cytotoxic metabolite of arsenic in humans and is central to a developing understanding of the toxic effects associated with low-level chronic arsenic exposure. Dr Fricke is a Counselor of the Akron Section of the American Chemical Society and enjoys traveling and lecturing on arsenic, pharmaceutical development and his pet project, the tactile periodic table for visually impaired chemists.