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Vol. 16, No. 7 - February 2016

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Science Highlights


Role of an Oxygen Vacancy Nanostructure on the Switchable Photovoltaic Effect in BiFeO3Contact: Jun-Sik Lee (SSRL)

The list of mechanical and electronic uses for oxide materials is continuously growing, piquing researchers’ interest in how the microscopic properties of these materials affect their functionalities. Oxygen vacancies, which affect electron hopping, have long been identified as a defect in oxide compounds, but researchers now view them as a way to create new, potentially useful, behaviors. Read more...


(Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Geochemical Triggers of Arsenic Mobilization during Managed Aquifer RechargeContact: Scott Fendorf (Stanford University)

The practice of storing reclaimed or storm water by refilling an aquifer is called managed aquifer recharge (MAR). Advantages of MAR to regions vulnerable to drought or which have depleted aquifers include water storage for future use, reduced water loss of stored water from evaporation, and stabilization of the aquifers. However, refilling aquifers can change the chemistry, allowing naturally occurring toxins in aquifer sediments to dissolve into the water. Arsenic, a potential poison, is of particular concern, since use of MAR has led to arsenic-contaminated water.  Read more...



Discovery of Next Generation RAF Inhibitors that Dissociate Paradoxical Activation from Inhibition of the MAPK PathwayContact: Ying Zhang (Plexxikon, Inc.)

Mutation of the gene coding for the BRAF kinase, an important enzyme in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway, can lead to melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer. The pharmaceutical company Plexxikon has developed drugs, like vemurafenib, that treat metastatic melanoma harboring BRAF mutation.  Read more...

Beam Line Update

BL4 Optics Upgrade Scheduled May-July 2016

In order to better serve our users, we have planned an upgrade to Beam Line 4 (BL4-1, BL4-2, and BL4-3) in 2016 to address degraded mirror performance over the last several years. After evaluating the SSRL-wide upgrade needs as well as limitations in available staff and resources, we have determined, considering all other options, that the best window for the BL4 mirror upgrade is May to July.  We anticipate recommissioning the BL4 mirror systems in July just prior to the annual summer shutdown.

We understand that this temporary outage of BL4 will likely disrupt user proposals and planned experiments. We ask for your patience as we work to provide you with enhanced capabilities, and we appreciate your continued support and communication.

Upcoming Events

  • SSRL School on Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Techniques in Materials & Environmental Sciences, June 21-23, 2016, Menlo Park, CA
  • SSRL EXAFS/Imaging Summer School, July 18-22, 2016, Menlo Park, CA
  • 12th International Conference on Biology and Synchrotron Radiation, August 21-24, 2016, Menlo Park, CA

    The International Biology and Synchrotron Radiation (BSR) meetings are held every three years with the aim of presenting and discussing state of the art applications in relevant research fields, providing a unique opportunity to discuss the novel possibilities of synchrotrons and x-ray lasers and to promote their applications to challenging biological problems.

    This meeting provides a forum for scientists involved in research and development on synchrotron and free electron laser sources to come together with a broad community of biologists, with the ambition to make the best use of the most advanced infrastructures in structural biology. Possible applications range from atomic-resolution and time-resolved structures of biological macromolecules, medium resolution images of the largest molecular complexes in the living word, and cellular and sub-cellular structures.

    Scientists at all possible career levels are invited to this meeting – ranging from graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and principal investigators both from academia and industry. There will be ample opportunities for individual presentations.  Conference website


Call for Workshop Topics at Joint SSRL/LCLS Users' Conference, October 5-7, 2016

Mark your calendar and save the dates October 5-7, 2016 to participate in the annual Joint SSRL/LCLS Annual Users' Conference.

Your suggestions for workshop topics or invited speakers for the 2016 conference are encouraged and we welcome your feedback from previous conferences. Contact us

Contact the SSRL Users' Executive Committee to suggest improvements to user services or to discuss areas of concern to the user community.

SSRL Mailing List Updated

We recently implemented changes to cast a wider net to share news about SSRL. If this is your first time receiving our electronic monthly newsletter, we hope that you find this edition informative. We welcome your feedback. If you would like to unsubscribe from this mailing list, just send an e-mail to with "signoff ssrl-headlines" in the body.

User Research Administration

Proposal Deadlines

April 1, 2016 - SSRL Macromolecular Crystallography proposals (for beam time eligibility beginning June 2016)

March 21, 2016 - LCLS Protein Crystal Screening Proposals

June 1, 2016 - SSRL X-ray/VUV Proposals (for beam time eligibility beginning in fall 2016)

July 1, 2016 - SSRL Macromolecular Crystallography proposals (for beam time eligibility beginning fall 2016)

Beam Time Requests

SSRL Macromolecular Crystallography requests for June-July 2016 beam time are due April 18.

Submit proposals and beam time requests through the user portal.


The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) is a third-generation light source producing extremely bright x-rays for basic and applied research.  SSRL attracts and supports scientists from around the world who use its state-of-the-art capabilities to make discoveries that benefit society. SSRL, a U.S. DOE Office of Science national user facility, is a Directorate of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.  The SSRL Structural Molecular Biology Program is supported by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research, and by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences. For more information about SSRL science, operations and schedules, visit

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Questions? Comments? Contact Lisa Dunn