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SSRL Headlines Vol. 7, No. 12  June, 2007


Contents of this Issue:

  1. Science Highlight — A T-cell's Guide to Knowing Who's Who
  2. Register for SSRL STXM and X-ray Nanoprobe Workshop, July 9-10
  3. SSRL Structural Molecular Biology Summer School, September 9-14
  4. First Ultrafast X-ray Summer School a Success!
  5. Call for Abstracts for 2007 SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting and Workshops
  6. Call for Nominations for Klein, Spicer and Lytle Awards
  7. SSRL Users' Organization Update
  8. Photon Science Job Opportunities

1.  Science Highlight — A T-cell's Guide to Knowing Who's Who
       (contacts: L. Colf,; K.C. Garcia,

T cell figure
2C TCR binding orientation with its self and foreign ligands.
[larger view]
Adaptive immunity relies on the capacity of immune cells to distinguish between the body's own cells and foreign invaders. T-cells are the foot soldiers of the immune system, and they carry receptors that undergo an extensive "education" process for recognizing specific proteins from these invaders. Mature T-cells also show the ability to recognize proteins for which they have not been exposed to. How the T-cell receptors (TCRs) achieve this ability is poorly understood. It is this same immune response which causes T-cell mediated rejection in organ transplant patients, and solving this problem could lead to new ways of combating tissue rejection.

Now, researchers are one step closer to understanding how T-cell receptors recognize foreign proteins. Using SSRL beam line 11-1, a team from the Stanford University Medical School has determined the structure of a TCR bound to a "foreign" protein complex, and has compared this to the previously solved structure of the same TCR bound to a "self" protein complex. Unlike earlier speculation attributing the mechanism to "molecular mimicry," the current study shows that the TCR binds to foreign proteins in a completely different way than it does self proteins, despite an 80% structural similarity between the two.

The work appeared in the April 6 edition of the journal Cell. To learn more about this research see the full scientific highlight at:

2.   Register for SSRL STXM and X-ray Nanoprobe Workshop, July 9-10
      (organizers: S. DeBeer George,; J. Bargar,; H. Ohldag,

STXM Website
SSRL will host a "Workshop on STXM and X-ray Nanoprobe Capabilities and Needs for Geo-, Environmental, and Biological Sciences" on July 9-10, 2007. The scope of the workshop is to identify key challenges in environmental, geo-, and biosciences that can be addressed using the unique spectromicroscopy capabilities provided by x-ray nanoprobes, for example Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy (STXM). The workshop program, which consists of 16 invited talks and two breakout sessions, will also include contributions from international experts in nanoprobe optics as well as detector and endstation hardware. In particular, we plan to focus on three issues that are most relevant for the conception and design of a future US synchrotron-based nanoprobe facility: 1) What are the key future scientific directions and facility needs? 2) What are the current planned capabilities of STXM facilities in the US for geo-, environmental and biosciences? And 3) How do different facilities around the globe compare to each other? Register at:

3.   SSRL Structural Molecular Biology Summer School, September 9-14
       (organizers: S. DeBeer George,; C. Smith,; T. Weiss,

Save the date for the next SMB Summer School which will be held September 9-14, 2007 at SSRL. The school will focus on three synchrotron-based techniques: small angle x-ray scattering, x-ray absorption spectroscopy, and macromolecular crystallography, and the application of these techniques to biological systems. The six-day school will consist of three days of lectures from experts in the field, followed by three days of hands-on practical sessions. Registration will be available soon. For more information, please contact Serena DeBeer George ( or visit the SSRL Structural Molecular Biology Summer Schools website at:

4.   First Ultrafast X-ray Summer School a Success!

      (organizers: N. Berrah,; P. Bucksbaum,

The Stanford University PULSE center, located at SLAC, organized and hosted its very successful first Ultrafast X-ray Summer School last week. Profs. Nora Berrah (WMU) and Phil Bucksbaum (SLAC/Stanford) co-chaired the event. The goal of the school was to raise awareness and disseminate information about scientific opportunities in ultrafast science and train students and post docs on the new FEL facilities as well as inform researchers who are interested to join this exciting new field.

The school ran from June 18-22 offering comprehensive lectures and open forum for discussions about free electron lasers (FEL) including VUV FELs and high harmonic generation; multiphoton physics with x-ray FEL; Ultrafast atomic, molecular, cluster physics; attosecond physics; material science and imaging molecules with X-FELs; high energy density science, time-resolved absorption and x-ray scattering. The program covered both fundamentals of high harmonic generation, soft x-ray, hard x-ray FEL and their use in spectroscopy and diffraction as well as a broad range of scientific applications. There were discussions of new experimental techniques which need to be developed and built due to the different nature of the LCLS compared to ultrafast lasers or synchrotron sources. These lectures were presented by expert scientists in the various aforementioned fields.

 Ultrafast Summer School
Ultrafast Summer School Participants [larger view]
More than 120 attendees participated in the lecture and panel discussions which were all presented interactively to better facilitate learning. A reception was held on Monday night with Dr. Artie Bienenstock, Special Assistant to the President for Federal Research Policy welcoming attendees. The meeting dinner was held on Thursday with an on-site barbeque. The after-dinner presentation was given by Dr. Eric Rohlfing, Director, DOE, Office of Science, BES, Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division, offering support and encouragement to this exciting, scarcely explored scientific area. On Friday attendees were first treated to an expansive tour of the SSRL facility with presentations by synchrotron radiation experts. Later they had a tour of the LCLS construction site guided by Aaron Lindenberg, Stanford faculty member in Materials Science and Engineering, and John Bozek of the LCLS Photon Beam Systems team. Overall, the excitement, energy, and enthusiasm matched the cutting edge science being explored in the summer school.

5.   Call for Abstracts for 2007 SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting and Workshops

      (contact: C. Knotts,

Users' Mtg Logo
The 2007 SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting and Workshops, provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of research activities from SSRL and the synchrotron community. New data, developments, opportunities, and plans for the future will be shared through talks, poster presentations, and workshops. There will be sessions on LCLS science and instrumentation, material and environmental science, structural biology and spectroscopy, science highlights from the last year, and young investigator sessions. You may submit an abstract to share your research results for an oral presentation by August 15 or a poster presentation by September 4. Your abstract can be sent via direct email attachment to Lisa Dunn ( or submitted via the meeting website once registration and abstract submission become available at:

6.   Call for Nominations for Klein, Spicer and Lytle Awards

      (contact: C. Knotts,

W. Schlotter, 2006 Klein Award Recipient
W. Schlotter, 2006 Klein Award Recipient
Please take a few moments to consider nominating your colleagues for one or more of the following awards which will be presented at the Joint SSRL and LCLS Users' Meeting, October 1-2, 2007:

  • Klein Professional Development Award —due August 1
  • Spicer Young Investigator Award —due August 1
  • Lytle Award —due August 15
In 2006, the SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee (SSRLUOEC) established a Scientific Development Award to honor Melvin P. Klein (1921-2000), a pioneer at the forefront of accomplishments in NMR, EPR, and x-ray absorption spectroscopy who was dedicated to the pursuit of the structure of the Mn complex characterized by the interplay of these methods. The Melvin P. Klein Scientific Development Award will be given to a student to disseminate scientific results based on work performed at SSRL. The $1,000 Award will provide support for a student to present their work at a scientific conference during the following year. The award also includes a certificate and waived registration for the recipient to present their work at the joint SSRL and LCLS Users' Meeting on October 1-2. The recipient will be selected by a user subcommittee based on a nomination package to include a letter of recommendation from the advisor; an abstract written by the candidate describing the experiment and scientific results (not to exceed 300 words); and information on when and where the work is to be presented. Nominations must be received by August 1. Additional instructions and information on making a donation toward this award are available at:

Submit nominations for the William E. Spicer Young Investigator Award by August 1. The Spicer Award was established in 2004 to honor Bill Spicer (1929-2004), one of the original founders of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project. This award recognizes important technical or scientific accomplishments that benefited from, or are beneficial to, the SSRL. The award is open to senior graduate students and PhDs within seven years of entry into their professional scientific field. The award consists of a certificate and $1,000 as well as waived registration for the recipient to make a presentation at the joint SSRL and LCLS Users' Meeting on October 1-2. Nominations letters summarizing the technical or scientific contributions of the candidate must be received by August 1; the candidate's CV, list of publications, and supporting letters are also encouraged.

Submit nominations for 2006 Farrel W. Lytle Award by August 15. The Lytle Award was established by the SSRLUOEC to promote important technical or scientific accomplishments in synchrotron radiation-based science and to foster collaboration and efficient use of beam time among users and staff at SSRL. The award consists of a certificate and $1,000. All SSRL users and staff are eligible for this award. The recipient will be selected by the SSRLUOEC, and the award will be presented at the annual users' meeting on October 1-2, 2007. Nominations summarizing the individual's contributions and why they should be recognized through this award must be sent before the August 15 deadline to Cathy Knotts (

7.   SSRL Users' Organization Update

      (contacts: C.S. Kim (SSRLUOEC Chair),; C. Knotts,

The SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee met by conference call on Friday, June 8. Several topics were discussed, including a summary of the National User Facility Organization meeting held on June 4-5 at the Advanced Light Source at LBNL.

Results from the SSRL Users' Survey conducted in January were shared, as well as a proposal for undergraduate research incentives, and plans for the joint SSRL & LCLS Users' Meeting and Workshops to be held September 30-October 3, 2007.

The next meeting of the SSRLUOEC is tentatively scheduled for Friday, July 20, 1-5 pm, in the SSRL Building 137 third floor conference room. All users are invited to participate in meetings of the SSRLUOEC. The agenda for this meeting and links to minutes from previous meetings are available on the web.

8.   Photon Science Job Opportunities

A number of positions are currently available at SSRL and LUSI. Please refer to the Photon Science Job Openings page for more information about these job opportunities.


SSRL Headlines is published electronically monthly to inform SSRL users, sponsors and other interested people about happenings at SSRL. SSRL is a national synchrotron user facility operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Additional support for the structural biology program is provided by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research, the NIH National Center for Research Resources and the NIH Institute for General Medical Sciences. Additional information about SSRL and its operation and schedules is available from the SSRL WWW site.


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Last Updated: 29 JUN 2007
Content Owner: L. Dunn
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