SSRL COVID-19 Updates

The health and safety of our staff, users, students, and visitors remains our top priority. Operations are underway at SSRL to support:

Beginning in June we are able to request site access for vaccinated users from the United States; contact us for details. Most experiments for international users continue to be done remotely by beam line staff in coordination with users. We are working to define the path to allow more users back onsite, taking into account the dynamic public health situation. Contact beam line staff to discuss SSRL capabilities and plan your research experiments. Do not travel to SLAC/SSRL unless authorized by beam line staff and the User Office. See beam time assignments in the user portal or view the user operations schedule.

For vaccinated users authorized to be on-site, bring your vaccination card. A Health Check and ESH 100 COVID training (ESH100R to be updated soon) is required before traveling to SLAC. Practical COVID-19 training has been incorporated into the SSRL Safety Orientation and must be completed upon arrival (sign up for this updated mandatory weekday training in SSRL Building 120 before 2 pm Monday-Friday).


SPEAR and Beam Line Schedules

SSRL Operations Update & Re-Start Planning

Rapid Access to Support COVID-19 Related Research

COVID-19 Related News


SSRL Operations Update

The FY2021 SPEAR3 run began Octber 1 and continues through August 2, with beam lines open to support user experiments.

In addition to the SSRL beam lines, several cryo-electron microscopes are available in buildings 006 and 057. Great attention is being paid to the need for face coverings, physical distancing, training, provision of PPE and clean-as-you-go supplies. Please pay close attention and adhere to safety precautions, postings and path-of-travel indicators on the SSRL experimental floor and in other buildings. Contact the User Office if you have questions about how COVID-19 impacts your experiments.


Re-Start Planning

Plans for user operations have been undertaken with significant input from DOE via the Bay Area Site Office. Understanding that the situation is dynamic, we would like to share our current plans with our user community to facilitate planning for future experiments.

Our approach will be guided by the following points:

1.    The health and safety of our staff, users and visitors is paramount.

2.    We seek to maximize the scientific impact of SSRL.

3.    Access to SLAC will likely be restricted for an extended period of time in order to comply with SLAC/DOE, county, state, city, and/or U.S. national health directives and travel restrictions.

4.   Details of these restrictions are unpredictable, but will inevitably present challenges to the user program at SSRL.

5.   Details of the 2021 run schedule were determined taking into account the following:

     i.    User input:  SSRL staff will revew beam time requests and contact users to better understand which experiments can be performed within the expected constraints, including availability of resources, equipment configuration, sample handling, potential safety issues, remote or mail-in abilities and other logistical considerations. Most beamline experiments are being planned a few weeks or months at a time.

      ii.   Additional experiments: COVID-19 research proposals will be given priority access. Users are invited to submit rapid access proposals for COVID-19 related research.

      iii   Duration of experiments:  Because of site access restrictions and the ES&H protocols associated with COVID-19, more time may be required for experimental setup and execution.

     iv.   Next call for proposals and extensions:  We plan to maintain our existing deadlines to submit new proposals, extension requests and beam time requests. The next opportunity to submit new standard X-ray/VUV proposals/extension requests is August 1st; submit beam time requests by August 1 to be considered for beam time next Fall/Winter. New crystallography proposals can be sutmitted by July 1st.

6. SSRL is working to expand remote access/mail-in capabilities, allowing proposal teams to carry out experiments without on-site presence. We recognize that this is not ideal and may not be practical in some cases.

As we move forward, we will continue to seek direction from DOE-BES and advice from advisory panels, including the SSRL Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).

Overall, there will be fewer experiments scheduled this year. Proposed experiments that are not compatible with the current restrictions or are otherwise impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for a one-year proposal extension (contact us for details).

The situation is still dynamic, and things will inevitably change. SSRL is doing everything possible to continue to perform world class science and to ensure the health and safety of our staff and users.

Please contact us know if you have any comments or questions. (updated 5/19/2021)

Support COVID-19 Related Research

We welcme Rapid Access proposals for COVID-19 related studies. Please contact us if you have COVID-19 related projects that require access to our techniques or beam lines.

The Stanford-SLAC Cryo-EM research facilities are also operational for COVID-19 related research, see Stanford-SLAC Cryo-EM Center (S2C2) and National Center for Macromolecular Imaging (NCMI).

Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences light sources want to ensure they are doing everything possible to enable research into this virus and the search for an effective vaccine or other treatment. The DOE supports research into structural biology in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, and other partners. This portal collects relevant structural biology resources in a single location, listing their basic characteristics and a point of contact for each.

COVID-19 Related News and Links

See SLAC Emergency page or SLAC COVID-19 guidelines and procedures.

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