Winning the Fight against Influenza – Contact:
Ian Wilson, The Scripps Research Institute
Every year the flu vaccine contains a different formulation, due to multiple
influenza virus strains and their ability to mutate. Scientists are working
toward the universal flu vaccine, which would target conserved regions of the
virus. Such a vaccine would be effective regardless of virus strain or genetic
drift due to mutation, requiring no yearly updates. Current research focuses on
the virus’s hemagglutinin (HA) stem region, which is targeted by our
immune system’s broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). A team of
researchers developed bnAbs to HA, which proved successful in preventing
influenza infection in mice. Some of these are currently being evaluated for
effectiveness in human clinical trials. The team is now focused on finding an
effective small molecule based on their bnAbs, which would have the advantage
of oral delivery. Read more...
Large-Scale Production of 119mTe and 119Sb for
Radiopharmaceutical Applications – Contacts: Sharon Bone
(SSRL) and Stosh Kozimor (LANL)
Radioisotope therapies improve on traditional chemotherapies by being finely
targeted to only the diseased cells and leaving surrounding healthy cells
unharmed. A promising radioisotope for therapeutic uses is 119Sb,
which releases low energy Auger electrons that can kill cancer cells. A problem
with widespread use of drugs using 119Sb is its short half-life of
around 38 hours. A team of scientists have developed a novel strategy for
utilizing 119Sb. Read more...
More SSRL Science
In a First, Researchers Identify Reddish Coloring in an Ancient
Fossil – a 3-million-year-old Mouse
Excerpt from May 21, 2019 SLAC News Article by Ali Sundermier
Researchers have for the first time detected chemical traces of red pigment
in an ancient fossil – an exceptionally well-preserved mouse, not unlike
today’s field mice, that roamed the fields of what is now the German
village of Willershausen around 3 million years ago.
The international collaboration, led by researchers at the University of
Manchester in the U.K., used x-ray spectroscopy and multiple imaging techniques
at SSRL and the Diamond Light Source to detect the delicate chemical signature
of pigments in this long-extinct mouse.
“Life on Earth has littered the fossil record with a wealth of
information that has only recently been accessible to science,” says Phil
Manning, a professor at Manchester who co-led the study. “A suite of new
imaging techniques can now be deployed, which permit us to peer deep into the
chemical history of a fossil organism and the processes that preserved its
tissues. Where once we saw simply minerals, now we gently unpick the
‘biochemical ghosts’ of long extinct species.”
The results were published today in Nature Communications.
See SLAC News Release...
Honors and Awards
Stanford Faculty Elected to National Academy of
Excerpt from April 30, 2019 Stanford News Article
Stanford faculty Karla Kirkegaard, Todd Martinez and William Weis along with
Mark Krasnow are now part of the National Academy of Sciences, an organization
created in 1863 to advise the nation on issues related to science and
Profs. Kirkegaard, Martinez and Weis are also part of the SSRL, LCLS or
CryoEM user community at SLAC — in Weis' case, his research program
spans across all three facilities.
Weis studies molecular interactions that underlie the establishment and
maintenance of cell and tissue structure using biochemical and biophysical
methods. His lab’s specific areas of interest are the architecture and
dynamics of intercellular adhesion junctions and signaling pathways that govern
cell fate determination. The team also investigates carbohydrate-based cellular
recognition and adhesion.
Kirkegaard’s work focuses on the impact of basic science discoveries
on the transmission of viruses in infected hosts. She has combined her
interests in biochemistry, cell biology and genetics in the study of RNA
virology, using poliovirus and other positive-strand RNA viruses to understand
the cell biology of viral infections and the genetics of viral
Martinez studies physical and theoretical chemistry, bridging the gap
between traditional molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry. He has developed
interactive simulations to discover heretofore unknown chemical reactions with
the goal of making molecular modeling both predictive and routine.
Scholars are elected in recognition of their outstanding contributions to
research. This year’s election brings the total of active academy members
to 2,347. See Stanford News article
Another Successful RapiData Course for 2019!
Arranging a macromolecular x-ray crystallography experiment into less than a
week might seem impossible, but teaching the fundamentals and experimental
tools certainly can be accomplished! That’s just what the Structural
Molecular Biology (SMB) team at SSRL set out to do at SLAC in the form of
RapiData 2019 - a workshop geared towards the collection and processing of
x-ray data at synchrotrons.
For nearly two decades, the week-long RapiData course has aimed to educate
and train young scientists in data collection and processing methods using
state-of-the-art software and instrumentation. On May 5-10, 2019, co-organizers
Clyde Smith, Silvia Russi, and Jeney Wierman of the SMB team brought together
over a dozen specialized experts from around the world to give lectures and
tutorials on the many aspects of a crystallography experiment to a class of 42
national and international students. Sessions on light sources and
instrumentation, protein crystallography sample preparation, data collection
and processing were also complemented with parallel techniques such as Cryo-EM
and BioSAXS (as presented, respectively, by Wah Chiu and Thomas Weiss).
In addition to the traditional instructional program, two prominent SSRL
experimentalists gave pre-dinner guest lectures drawing direct connection
between the experimental techniques being taught in the course and the impact
of their results. Prof. Brian Kobilka of Stanford University concluded the
first day of tutorials with a captivating presentation on structural approaches
to understanding G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling. Armed with
humorous quips about the reality of data collection, Prof. Kobilka related his
past GPCR experiments and framed the place of GPCR signaling in biology - a
look into the work that awarded him a Nobel prize in Chemistry in 2012. As
approximately half of all medications used today make use of GPCRs, his
lectures underlined the importance of the tools the students were learning to
perform through the RapiData course.
To conclude the packed schedule of lectures and tutorials, Prof. James
Fraser of U.C. San Francisco presented an intriguingly-titled talk,
“Conformational Change We Can Believe In!" describing the influence
of conformational change within protein structures at varying temperatures. His
talk highlighted the renewed interest in room temperature data collection and
gave emphasis to the new content from the added room temperature data
collection lectures and tutorials within the RapiData circuit.
As in previous years, IUCr and BioXFEL awarded travel scholarships to
students on the final day. The organizers, instructors, tutors and students all
shared their satisfaction and enthusiasm for the course, and look forward to
continued RapiData courses at SLAC in the future.
Submit Structural Molecular Biology Multi-Technique Proposals by
July 1, 2019
You can now submit a multi-technique proposal for structural biology-related
projects that require the use of two or more scientific techniques available at
SSRL (both x-ray and electron based). This pilot proposal mechanism is
initially covering small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS), macromolecular
crystallography (MC) and cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM). In its
permanent phase this program may expand to include additional techniques
available at LCLS and spectroscopy and imaging methods at SSRL.
Submit multi-technique proposals through the User Portal. Please
provide a thorough justification for the requirement of using two or more
techniques. The proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc Proposal Review Panel
comprised of members from the SSRL SMB and Cryo-EM PRPs. The deadline is
July 1, 2019.
To get started: Log into User
Portal -> Select SSRL or CryoEM as the Facility -> Choose
Submit Structural Biology-related Multi-Technique Proposal from SSRL Proposals
or CryoEM Projects pulldown menu.
More information about these techniques is available at SSRL's Structural
Molecular Biology Program and the Stanford-SLAC
Cryo-EM Facilities websites.
Stanford-SLAC Cryo-EM Center (S2C2) Modeling
Workshop - July 10-12, 2019
This workshop covers the basic principles and practical protocols to obtain
atomic models based on cryo-EM density maps at near atomic resolution. See agenda
Joint SSRL/LCLS Users’ Conference September 24-27,
We look forward to welcoming you to this year's joint SSRL/LCLS
Users' Meeting and workshops. This annual meeting is a unique opportunity
to gather the light source community together in a single scientific event that
includes numerous presentations in plenary, poster and parallel sessions.
Participants are able to learn about current/future facility capabilities and
the latest user research as well as to discuss science with colleagues from
academia, research laboratories, and industry worldwide.
We are planning several focused workshops including:
- Automated Analysis and Control for X-ray Science Experiments (submit abstract by June 30th to present work)
- Metals in Structural Biology
- Ultrafast Electron Diffraction (UED)
- X-ray Diffraction Opportunities Enabled by SSRL's New BL17-2
(with Powder Diffraction and Rietveld Refinement)
- Early Science for LCLS-II
- LCLS Science Campaigns - Run 18 Town Hall
- Multi-Scale Biology
- MXAN: Three Dimensional Structures for Metal Sites in Condensed
Phases and in Catalysts
- CryoEM of Macromolecular Machines
- Current and Future Opportunities in Time-Resolved X-ray Science:
Materials and Interface
- Materials Phenomena
- Ultrafast Electron and Molecular Dynamics at
- Recent Advances in the X-ray Spectroscopy of the Actinides
- Development and Challenges in X-ray Spectroscopies and Ultrafast
Dynamics: Experiment and Theory
- Data-Reduction Pipeline for LCLS-II
More details and registration information will be posted to the website soon.
EMSL Integration 2019 – Plants, Soil and Aerosols:
Interactions that tell stories of Ecosystems, Climate and National
Security” October 8-10, 2019 announcement
User Research Administration
- July 1, 2019 – Macromolecular Crystallography (standard) and
Multi-Technique Proposals for SAXS, MC and Cryo-EM
- August 1, 2019 – X-ray / VUV
See SSRL Proposal & Scheduling Guidelines
Submit proposals 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 http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu.
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