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SSRL Headlines Vol. 6, No. 4  October, 2005


Contents of this Issue:

  1. SSRL Director's Report
  2. Science Highlight — Terror of the Tudor Seas Suffers from Sulfur
  3. Science Highlight — Cationic Liposome-Microtubule Complexes: Lipid-Protein Bio-Nanotubes with Open or Closed Ends
  4. SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee Update
  5. Over 300 People Participate in SSRL32 Users' Meeting & Workshops
  6. Congratulations to Donghui Lu, Recipient of the 2005 Farrel Lytle Award
  7. Stepháne Richard Receives W.E. Spicer Young Investigator Award
  8. Stanford-based SSRL Faculty and Users Receive Prestigious Awards
  9. Information Requested for Reports to SSRL Funding Agencies
  10. Beam Time Requests for X-ray/VUV Beam Lines Due December 5

1.  Director's Report
      (contact: Jo Stöhr,

In my first note to you as the new SSRL Director I would like to start by asking for your support in building a world-class SSRL synchrotron radiation program that fully utilizes the capabilities of our new ring SPEAR3. Based on input from SSRL users and the SSRL staff and faculty, and reviewed by an external committee and the SSRL Proposal Review Committee, I have recently presented my vision for SSRL at the annual SSRL Users' Meeting. If you did not hear this talk I encourage you to take a look at the presentation at:

hedman  Pianetta  
Piero Pianetta
One of my first actions was to form an effective management team that will continue the leadership provided by the previous Director Keith Hodgson. As announced in the press release (see below) I have asked Piero Pianetta and Britt Hedman to become SSRL Deputy Directors. Piero and Britt have the scientific credentials as well as the managerial skills for this important position. I have known them both personally for more than twenty years and have followed their scientific careers. Both are professors on the SSRL faculty. Britt is a chemist with interests in both chemistry and biology and Piero's expertise lies in various areas related to materials science. During my tenure as SSRL Deputy Director over the last five years I have come to appreciate not only their scientific expertise, but also their great managerial skills. I want them by my side leading SSRL into a future filled with great scientific opportunities. Britt will continue to manage the area of Structural Molecular Biology and Piero the area of Chemical and Materials Science at SSRL.

Below are some other newsworthy points.

User Run Extended to August 7, 2006. The X-ray/VUV schedule for the first period (November 28 - February 2006) in the next user experimental run will be finalized and posted to the web shortly. The SSRL Directorate recently evaluated a number of factors and decided not to run between the two holiday breaks (December 27-31, 2005) as originally planned. Instead we will extend the run by 7 days (August 1-7, 2006). This extension gives us a net increase of 3 days over the originally projected schedule with the added benefit of having 7 more beam lines in operation than would be available during the December 27-31, 2005 time period. The SPEAR3 schedule is posted at:

Phil Bucksbaum
Phil Bucksbaum Named First Director of the Stanford Ultrafast Science Center. The growing field of ultrafast science gained significant momentum in October with the announcement of Phil Bucksbaum as the first director for the new Stanford Ultrafast Science Center. Phil joined the SSRL and Applied Physics faculties at Stanford University to lead the center, which is a partnership between Stanford and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Bucksbaum is an atomic physicist, and until now, Director of the National Science Foundation's Center for the Advancement of Frontiers in Optical Coherent Ultrafast Science (FOCUS) at the University of Michigan, where he remains the Peter Franken Distinguished University Professor of Physics this academic year. The Stanford Center is bringing together scientists with distinct expertise to develop groundbreaking experiments for, and push the performance of, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) that combines x-ray and laser properties. The LCLS, which will begin operating at SLAC in 2009, will offer new ways of studying and constructing nanotechnology devices; will be able to capture the structural rearrangements of atoms in reactions like photosynthesis and catalysis; will create and probe extreme states of matter (types of plasmas), found in the cores of giant planets and proto-stars; and will explore how proteins function as the engines of life, which is highly relevant to health and disease research as well as to DOE missions to develop clean energy sources.

Z.X. Shen
Z.X. Shen
Z.X. Shen Named New Director of the Stanford Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials. Zhi-Xun (Z.X.) Shen, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and SSRL agreed to become the new Director of the Stanford Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials (GLAM) for a three-year term beginning September 1, 2005. Prior to this appointment, Professor Malcolm (Mac) Beasley, served as the GLAM director with Z.X. acting as deputy director this past year. Z.X. completed his Ph.D. at Stanford University and joined its faculty in 1989. His research interests include the study of the physical properties of complex materials. He is best known for his pioneering high-resolution angle-resolved photoemission work on the high Tc superconductors which started at SSRL. We look forward to continuing to have Z.X. as one of our outstanding users and broaden and enhance our coupling with GLAM.

2.  Science Highlight — Terror of the Tudor Seas Suffers from Sulfur
      (contact: Magnus Sandström,

Maryrose figure
The Mary Rose
Henry VIII's warship, the Mary Rose, wreaked havoc on the French navy for 34 years until she was wrecked in 1545. Salvaged from the sea in 1982, she now rests in the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, England. Pieces of her helm recently traveled to SSRL and the ESRF in Grenoble, France, where intense x-rays pierced the wood to analyze the sulfur and iron within. Led by University of Stockholm Professor Magnus Sandström, researchers had studied another historical treasure, the Swedish warship Vasa, at SSRL in a similar way in 2001.

Measurements at SSRL revealed the presence of five major organosulfur compounds and iron sulfides as well as elemental sulfur, and allowed for the determination of their relative amounts. The ESRF data, obtained through scanning x-ray absorption spectro-microscopy, enabled the spatial mapping of reactive sulfur species in small samples of the oak timbers, such as the distribution of reduced and oxidized sulfur species. Exposed to the oxygen in air, the iron from corroded iron bolts in the ship catalyzes the oxidation of sulfur in the timbers into sulfuric acid, which could slowly degrade the wood until its stability is lost. The ship is in no immediate danger, however, because the acid is continually washed away during conservation. A spray treatment replaces the water in the degraded wood with aqueous polyethylene glycol, to prevent the wood from shrinking or developing cracks as it dries out. The researchers suggest that long-term preservation requires chemical treatments to remove or stabilize the remaining iron and sulfur compounds, and reducing humidity and access to oxygen.

3.  Science Highlight — Cationic Liposome-Microtubule Complexes: Lipid-Protein Bio-Nanotubes with Open or Closed Ends
      (contacts: Cyrus R. Safinya,; Uri Raviv,

LPN figure 
Sketch of Lipid protein nanotube (LPN).
Microtubules, 25 nanometer scale hollow tubules, are critical components in a broad range of functions in eukaryotic cells -- from providing tracks for the transport of cargo to forming the spindle structure for chromosome segregation before cell division. They are used as nanometer scale tracks in neurons for the transport of neurotransmitter precursors and enzymes to synaptic junctions in nerve cell communication.

A group of researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara have recently reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (vol. 102, no. 32, 11167-11172, 2005) on a new paradigm for lipid self-assembly leading to nanotubule formation in mixed charged systems with potential applications in gene and drug delivery. The bio-nanotubule results from the interaction between microtubules, which are overall negatively charged and cationic lipid membranes. Combining sophisticated analysis of SSRL synchrotron x-ray scattering data with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy elucidated the precise structure of the lipid-protein nanotube.

Significantly, controlling the degree of overcharging of the lipid-protein nanotube enables one to switch between two states of the nanotubes with either open or closed ends, which forms the basis for controlled chemical and drug or therapeutic nucleic acid encapsulation and release. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

4.   SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee Update
      (contacts: Joy Andrews (SSRLUOEC Chair),;
         Glenn Waychunas (SSRLUOEC 2004/2005 Chair),

User Representatives Welcomed to the SSRLUOEC. We are pleased to announce the election of the following user representatives to the SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee (SSRLUOEC): Chris Kim (environmental/geosciences representative and new SSRLUOEC vice-chair from Chapman University), Robert Szilagyi (biospectroscopy representative from Montana State University), Zsuzsa Hamburger (crystallography representative from Stanford University), Stepháne Richard (crystallography representative from Salk Institute), and Jesse Guzman (graduate student representative from UC Santa Cruz). The SSRLUOEC represents the interests of users, so please contact us to share your feedback, make suggestions, or to get more involved in your user community. The SSRLUOEC meets periodically and coordinates activities with representatives from other DOE user facilities to promote and sustain support for basic sciences as well as user facilities such as SSRL to numerous constituencies. Your input and support of these activities is vital, and we urge you to become more engaged in these activities.

SSRLUOEC members
(front row from left) J. Acrivos, R. Szilagyi, R. Lee, J. Guzman, J. Andrews, L. Downward (back row from left) C. Knotts, W. Schlotter, Z. Hamburger, M. Brzustowicz, G. Waychunas, C. Kim, S. Richard

Coordinated Efforts Amongst Synchrotron and Neutron User Facilities. On October 17, the SSRLUOEC hosted a meeting of user representatives from DOE BES synchrotron and neutron scattering facilities and a few invited guests. At this meeting, an Advocacy Steering Committee was formed to continue the momentum gained from the joint and coordinated efforts of the newly formed Synchrotron and Neutron User's Group (SNUG). One of the first priorities of this group will be to work with the scientific users to facilitate contacts with Congressional representatives and others to emphasize the need for increased funding in the basic energy sciences in order to meet the nation's needs in homeland security, national defense, energy security, economic growth, biomedicine and training the scientific and engineering workforce of the future. Near-term goals of this group will be to update U.S. statistics and highlight recent user research emphasizing applications to these mission issues. Users interested in becoming more involved with this new committee are encouraged to contact us directly. Users are also encouraged to read the recent report, Benchmarks of our Innovation Future, at

5.   Over 300 People Participate in SSRL32 Users' Meeting & Workshops
      (contacts: Joy Andrews,; Clyde Smith,; Cathy Knotts,

We wish to extend a special note of thanks to the participants as well as the SSRL user services and administrative staff for an outstanding Users' Meeting! Over 300 people participated in the 32nd Annual Users' Meeting, workshops, and social events on October 15-19, 2005 (SSRL32). In the opening session, SLAC
poster session
Monday afternoon poster session
Director Jonathan Dorfan and SLAC Deputy Director Keith Hodgson welcomed users and gave introductory remarks. Jo Stöhr, newly appointed SSRL Director, presented his vision for SPEAR3 and plans for the future. Ian Evans, SSRL Safety Officer, gave a safety refresher talk. SSRLUOEC Chair Glenn Waychunas discussed recent activities of the SSRL Users' Organization, including a summary of material prepared for a DC trip last spring. Mike Lubell (Director of Public Affairs, American Physical Society and Chairman, Department of Physics, CCNY) gave a "Washington Update" and encouraged users to become more engaged in supporting science and scientific facilities. Pat Dehmer, Associate Director of Science for DOE Basic Energy Sciences, gave an update from the perspective of the DOE Office of Science. In a special session on 'Pioneers in Spectroscopy', Ken Sauer presented Mel Klein's contributions and his impact on the field of XAS; Farrel Lytle discussed the contributions and impact of Dale Sayers' groundbreaking work in EXAFS; and Uwe Bergmann shared exciting initial results from data collected on SSRL BL6-2 to reveal part of an ancient manuscript by Archimedes. Numerous other scientific sessions focused on structural genomics, a sampling of materials research from representatives of each of the DOE synchrotrons; presentations by young investigators including the inaugural 2004 William E. Spicer Young Investigator Awardee, N. Peter Armitage (Johns Hopkins) and the 2005 Spicer Young Investigator Awardee, Stepháne Richard (Salk Institute); ultrafast science; and a session for updates related to SPEAR3 operations and beam line developments (including a discussion of top-off mode). Several attendees requested copies of speaker presentations, and as these become available, they will be posted to the meeting website.

47 users submitted abstracts for presentation at the poster session on October 17. Several awards were presented at the awards dinner on Monday evening, including prizes for three outstanding graduate student posters:

  • Mary Corbett, X-ray Studies of P-Cluster Biosynthesis in the Nitrogenase Enzyme System (Stanford University)
  • Elena Slonkina, XAS Evidence of Pd-Oxo Formation in a Pd-Containing Polyoxometalate Complex (Stanford University)
  • Kate Tufano, Stimulated Migration of Arsenic by Reductive Transformation of Iron (Stanford University).
Additionally, four workshops were held in conjunction with SSRL32 to give users the opportunity to explore several techniques in more depth and, in many cases, gain hands-on experience and training in using beam line instruments.

  • Advances in X-Ray Scattering/Diffraction Studies on Non-Crystalline Biological Systems Workshop
  • Soft X-Ray Science at LCLS
  • The Role of Small Angle X-Ray Scattering in Materials Science
  • Remote Access for Macromolecular Crystallography Beam Lines.
Besides the excellent science, friendly camaraderie, and delicious refreshments, a highlight of the Users' Meeting was a concert by singer-songwriter-recording artist, Kyler England, who performed live at SSRL32.

6.   Congratulations to Donghui Lu, Recipient of the 2005 Farrel Lytle Award

Donghui Liu Receiving Lytle Award  
Donghui Liu and Jo Stöhr
At the awards dinner on October 17, SSRL Director Jo Stöhr presented the 8th Annual Farrel Lytle Award to SSRL beam line scientist Donghui Lu. In addition to Jo's congratulatory remarks Z.X. Shen read from several letters supporting the nomination of Donghui which described specific examples of Donghui's significant dedication to users and to the field of photoemission spectroscopy. The citation on the award acknowledged Donghui's remarkable technical skill, dedication to science, drive, commitment to the user community, positive attitude and generous personality, which enables users to achieve the maximum scientific output at SSRL Beam Line 5. The award consists of a certificate, $1,000, and a commemorative plaque which is updated annually and is on display in the user services office.

7.   Stepháne Richard Receives W.E. Spicer Young Investigator Award

Stephane Richard receiving Spicer Award
Stepháne Richard and Jo Stöhr
The second annual Young Investigator Award which honors SSRL pioneer William E. Spicer (1929-2004) was awarded to Stepháne Richard from the Salk Institute on October 17. This Award recognizes a young scientist who has made important technical or scientific contributions that benefit from or are beneficial to SSRL or the synchrotron community and consists of a certificate, $1,000, and their name added to a commemorative plaque on display in the user services office. In addition to the formal presentation of the award by Jo Stöhr, SSRL32 Co-chair Clyde Smith discussed the significant and wide-ranging contributions of Stepháne's studies focused on a structure-function understanding of isoprenoid biosynthesis in bacteria and plants utilizing the SSRL macromolecular crystallography beam lines. The enzymes comprising the pathway for synthesizing essential isoprenoids have been elucidated and are key targets for the design and synthesis of a new class of anti-infective agents. Stéphane's contributions to the rational design of such inhibitors are seminal in that he was the first to solve the structures of three key enzymes involved in this non-mevalonate pathway. In addition, studying the structure of Orf2 and the amino acid sequence of closely related proteins provides an understanding of the fundamental process of molecular evolution.

8.   Stanford-based SSRL Faculty and Users Receive Prestigious Awards

A. Bienenstock receiving DOE Distinguished Associate Award  
Arthur Bienenstock and Pat Dehmer
Arthur Bienenstock, Vice Provost and Dean of Research and Graduate Policy at Stanford University, and former Director of SSRL, was presented with a DOE Distinguished Associate Award by Pat Dehmer at SSRL's Annual Users' Meeting on October 17. In addition to recognizing Artie's many accomplishments and contributions, the plaque reads: "You have elegantly brought together diverse ideas, peoples, and institutions to work together. You serve to remind scientists of all ages that one person with a vision can truly make a difference." Artie has also recently been elected vice-president of the American Physical Society for 2006. For more on these stories see:

Pehr Harbury, Associate Professor in Biochemistry at Stanford's School of Medicine, has been named a MacArthur Fellow, a national honor frequently called the "genius grant".

Edward I. Solomon, the Monroe E. Spaght Professor of Chemistry in Stanford's School of Humanities and Sciences, has won the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry.

9.   Information Requested for Reports to SSRL Funding Agencies

SSRL submits several reports each year to the DOE and the NIH which require current information on publications listings, invited lectures and major awards, patents and science highlights. In the near term we will be sending out a request for information for inclusion in our Annual NIH, NCRR/Biomedical Technology Program (BTP) Progress Report. This information is extremely important in presenting our scientific achievements and productivity, and thus funding case to these agencies and we would very much appreciate your help and support in keeping us informed of your publications, patents, awards, etc.

10.   Beam Time Requests for X-ray/VUV Beam Lines Due December 5
      (contact: Cathy Knotts,

X-ray/VUV Beam time requests for the second scheduling period in 2006 (February-May) need to be submitted by Monday, December 5:

The schedule for the first scheduling period which begins in several weeks will be finalized and posted shortly: Please note that the SPEAR operating schedule has been modified slightly to incorporate revisions to scheduled maintenance and accelerator physics days in 2006.


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: 31 OCT 2005
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