SSRL Headline News - Vol. 21, No. 3 Nov/Dec 2020

SSRL Headline News


Happy Holidays from SSRL!

Whether great or small the impact of the pandemic and events of 2020 has been felt by everyone. Our hearts go out to those who have suffered devastating losses and we applaud everyone for doing their best to meet the challenges of the day. As 2020 draws to a close we want to express our thanks for your contributions to forefront science and technological development.  Your continuing support is appreciated as we move forward with the mission of our laboratory while making safety more of a priority than ever and exploring new innovations to bring more remote access options to SSRL.  Towards that end we appreciate your input to our Remote Access Survey (below).

We look forward to welcoming you back to SSRL's experimental floor as the current restrictions ease and hope that the coming year will bring exciting new opportunities and a few less challenges.  We wish you all the very best during this holiday season!

SSRL-Related Science

Identifying COVID-19 Antibodies for Potential Treatments

Excerpt from SLAC News article based on press release from the California Institute of Technology

New research led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology and conducted in part on SSRL Beamline 12-1 has identified mechanisms for how a number of antibodies neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The researchers hope that antibodies like the ones they describe in the new study can help treat or prevent COVID-19.

When someone gets an infection, their body can produce hundreds or even thousands of antibody variants in response. That leads to a wide diversity of antibodies in a single person and in the human population, and some antibodies are better at blocking, or neutralizing, a virus than others.

"An ideal treatment would be a cocktail of different antibodies that attack the virus in different, but still effective, ways," said Christopher Barnes, a Caltech senior postdoctoral fellow and the first author of the new paper, which was published in the journal Nature. "With a combination of antibodies, it's less likely that a virus can evolve to escape them."

Aina Cohen, a senior scientist at SSRL where the Caltech team determined the antibody structures, said, “The knowledge they are uncovering, including how and where antibodies bind to the virus, could lead to new treatments for those at most risk from severe COVID-19, to enable more people to survive infection. It is a great feeling to work in the support and development of beamlines used for this caliber of biomedical research.”  Read more...


SSRL Users Honored with Paul H. Emmett Award

The North American Catalysis Society (NACS) has announced the winners of the 2021 and 2022 Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis. This award recognizes and encourages individual contributions in the field of catalysis with emphasis on discovery and understanding of catalytic phenomena, proposal of catalytic reaction mechanisms and identification of and description of catalytic sites and species.  Congratulations to the two SSRL users who have been selected to receive the award!

Professor Thomas Jaramillo of Stanford University has been selected as the 2021 award winner in recognition of his efforts in the design and development of catalysts for sustainable chemical processes.

Professor Beatriz Roldan Cuenya of the Fritz Haber Institute, recipient of the 2022 award is being recognized for exceptional contributions to the mechanistic understanding of thermal and electro-catalytic reactions based on the use of well-defined nanostructured materials combined with advanced in situ and operando microscopic and spectroscopic characterization.

The awards will be presented during the next North American Meeting of the Catalysis Society (NAM27 in New York City). The awardees will also present a Plenary Lecture at the NAM meeting. Read more...


SSRL Remote Access User Survey

We would like your help in determining the future focus and investments in remote access at SSRL by taking a Remote Access User Survey.

Call for User Publications and Reminder to Acknowledge SSRL and Funding Agencies

Publications are an important metric of productivity.  SSRL provides technical tools for user experiments with the requirement that scientists will report and properly acknowledge use of our facility and funding agencies in resulting publications.  Acknowledgement templates are provided on our website. 

Please note that with the successful renewal of the SSRL Structural Molecular Biology Program, the NIH grant number to include has changed to P30GM133894.

To help us keep an up-to-date publications list please take a few minutes to use our publications database search and submit form to see if your most recent SSRL-related publications are included and add any that are missing. 


  • Electron Microscopy-X International Symposium, Monday, January 4, 2021
    8:00–9:30 AM Pacific time

    Live from Stanford: join the Stanford EM-X community for our 3rd symposium featuring talks by Joachim Frank, Professor at Columbia University, 2017 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, and Jennifer Dionne, Associate Professor at Stanford University.

    Each presentation is 30 min plus 15 min Q&A, with a possible panel discussion at the end. We plan to hold this symposium series monthly. See flyer.

    Registration is free and open to all!    EM-X Website     Mailing List Subscription

  • Spectroscopy and Modeling for Molecular Insight into Environmental Processes – January 26, 2021
    8:00 am –  2:00 pm Pacific Time

    SSRL, in coordination with the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) will organize a half-day workshop titled "Spectroscopy and Modeling for Molecular Insight into Environmental Processes" on January 26, 2021.  The focus is to encourage and provide help in getting started with the use of theory and modeling (such as DFT and MD) in the interpretation of EXAFS/XAS data.

    This workshop is part of a DOE-BER outreach initiative at SSRL to expand biological and environmental user research and support DOE-BER funded individual researchers on SSRL’s x-ray imaging and spectroscopy beamlines. All interested users/ research groups are encouraged to participate. More information and the Zoom registration link are available on the flyer.

User Research Administration

Proposal Deadlines

  • Macromolecular Crystallography – April 1, 2021
  • Xray/VUV – May 1, 2021
  • COVID-19 related proposals for beam time at SSRL and microscope time at our CryoEM facility can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed expeditiously.
  • CryoEM biology-related proposals for the S2C2 program are currently being reviewed on a monthly basis.

Submit beam time requests and proposals through the User Portal.  Questions can be directed to the SSRL User Office or the CryoEM User Office

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