Previous Editions


SSRL Headlines Vol. 8, No. 4  October, 2007


Contents of this Issue:

  1. Science Highlight — Potential Diabetes Drug Target
  2. Science Highlight — Exploding Beads and Ultrafast Imaging
  3. Papers Based on Science Performed at SSRL are Awarded
  4. Information Requested for Reports to SSRL Funding Agencies
  5. First Joint SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting a Success!
  6. Cathy Knotts Presented with 2007 Lytle Award
  7. Users' Organization Meetings
  8. OSTP Visits Bay Area Labs
  9. Film Crew Visits SLAC
  10. User Administration Update

1.  Science Highlight — Potential Diabetes Drug Target
       (contacts: M. Paddock,; H. Axelrod,; A. Cohen,

Scientists working at SSRL have found a potential drug target for Type-2 diabetes research.

Type-2 diabetes, associated with rising obesity levels, is predicted to reach epidemic proportions in the next several decades.

Treatment for type-2 diabetes often includes pioglitazone, which has been thought to target the nuclear transcription factor PPARg. Recently, scientists led by Patricia Jennings at the University of California, San Diego determined the molecular structure of another pioglitazone target molecule, mitoNEET, an outer mitochondrial membrane protein.

Using SSRL beamline 9-2 for macromolecular crystallography experiments to determine the three-dimensional protein structure, the team found that mitoNEET has a unique homodimer structure in which two iron-sulfur clusters are bound close together. The two-iron—two-sulfur clusters are approximately 16 ┼ apart.

When pioglitazone was added, mitoNEET's stability increased tenfold. The study's authors predict that the iron-sulfur binding area may sit close to the outer mitochondrial membrane, where it could receive and transfer clusters that have crossed the membrane.

To learn more about this research see the full scientific highlight at:

2.  Science Highlight — Exploding Beads and Ultrafast Imaging
       (contacts: H. Chapman,; J. Hajdu,

X-rays from the FLASH FEL are focused on to a 'dusty mirror' consisting of particles on a membrane sandwiched closely to a multilayer backing mirror. An ultrashort pulse hits the particles twice: on the way in and after reflecting from the mirror. The two scattered waves interfere on the CCD to form a hologram that encodes the change in the particle in the brief time that the light was reflected back.
Stanford scientists, along with an international team at the German particle lab DESY's free electron laser, have managed to observe exploding polystyrene beads on a femtosecond timescale and 10 nm lengthscale, using equipment not much more sophisticated than a dusty mirror.

The new technique, which produces a "hologram" of the object after excitation, could prove useful for X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs). These lasers will allow scientists to fire photon pulses with short wavelengths and short duration, probing structure at and below the nanometer scale. However, the excitation pulse would destroy the object, and the achievable image resolution depends critically on how fast the destruction occurs. Using the dusty-mirror method, it is possible to excite and observe an object with the same pulse of light, to measure the dynamics of the XFEL interaction with an inherently fine time resolution that does not require sophisticated synchronization techniques.

The scientists observed 140-nm polystyrene spheres arrayed on a silicon nitride membrane, which was positioned in front of an x-ray mirror. As the beam hit the spheres the first time, it started an explosion. The beam bounced off the mirror and through the expanding spheres a second time, collecting an image shortly after the first pulse. Both beams were directed onto a CCD. The resulting pattern of concentric rings, produced by the two interfering waves, was modulated with speckles that contained information about the exploding spheres. To learn more about this research see the full scientific highlight at:

3.   Papers Based on Science Performed at SSRL are Awarded

Franšois Farges, Gordon Brown Jr. and co-workers have been awarded the Hawley Medal for their x-ray absorption spectroscopy-based work on the impact of pressure and temperature on structural environments around molybdenum in silicate glasses and melts. The XAS work was performed at SSRL and is described in the paper: The Canadian Mineralogist, 44, 755-773 (2006), which was named the best paper of 2006. The Hawley Medal of the Mineralogical Association of Canada is awarded to the authors of the best paper to appear in The Canadian Mineralogist in a given year. The award is named in honor of Dr. J.E. Hawley (1897-1965) who was distinguished professor of mineralogy at Queen's University.

The Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) award has been given for a paper in the journal Science, published in 1987 (Kim F. Hayes, A. Lawrence Roe, Gordon E. Brown Jr., Keith O. Hodgson, James Leckie and George Parks, "In Situ X-ray Absorption Study of Surface Complexes: Selenium Oxyanions on a-FeOOH," Science, 238, 783-786 (1987)). AEESP gives the award "to recognize the authors of a landmark environmental engineering paper that has withstood the test of time and significantly influenced the practice of environmental engineering". The award event took place at the 2007 WEFTEC (Water Environment Federation's Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference).

4.   Information Requested for Reports to SSRL Funding Agencies

      (contacts: C. Knotts,; L. Dunn,

It is extremely important that users not only inform us whenever work conducted at SSRL results in a publication, but also acknowledge SSRL and our funding agencies in each publication. User help is needed to keep current records on publications including refereed journal papers, conference proceedings, book chapters and theses, invited lectures and major awards and patents based at least in part on work conducted at SSRL. This information allows SSRL to demonstrate scientific achievements and productivity when responding to requests sent out by the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.

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 and in our response to the DOE's request for information for an upcoming peer review of our facility in January 2008. A direct request will be going out to our user community, but this information can also be submitted anytime via email message to Lisa Dunn or Cathy Knotts or via the reference submission form at:

For publications lists and the proper acknowledgement statements see:

5.   First Joint SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting a Success!
       (contact: C. Knotts,
From left: SSRL Director Jo St÷hr, Hugh Harris, Jessica Vey, and award presenter Christopher Kim.

The first joint SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting was held September 28-October 3, 2007. Approximately 320 individuals participated in the various activities scheduled over the six-day event which began with a special symposium on the future of x-ray science, September 28-29; this was followed on September 30 with a joint SSRL/ALS workshop on synchrotron radiation techniques. The main Users' Meeting, on October 1-2, featured presentations on recent developments and new opportunities in structural biology, material and environmental science, ultrafast science and LCLS instrumentation. On October 2, the keynote presentation was given by Nobel Laureate Professor Roger Kornberg, who utilized SSRL's crystallography beam lines for his experiments on RNA polymerase. As part of the meeting tradition several awards for outstanding technical and scientific achievement in synchrotron radiation-based science were presented.

The William Spicer Young Investigator Award was presented to Hugh Harris, a lecturer at the School of Chemistry and Physics, University of Adelaide, Australia; Jessica Vey, a graduate student at MIT, received the Melvin Klein Professional Development Award; and Cathy Knotts, Manager of User Research Administration at SSRL received the Farrel Lytle Award (see below).

Additionally, several graduate students received prizes for outstanding scientific poster presentations, including: Brittany Nelson-Cheeseman (UC Berkeley), Origin of Anomalous Magnetic Behavior in NiMn2O4 Thin Films; Stephen Kelly (Stanford), The Effect of Cycling on Microstructure and Reaction Kinetics in Mg/MgH2; David Singer (Stanford), Using Synchrotron Radiation X-ray Techniques to Examine Uranium Speciation as a Function of Depth in Contaminated Hanford Sediments; and Samuel Wilson (Stanford), XAS Pre-edge and EXAFS Spectroscopy Reveals Mechanistic Differences between Tyrosine Hydroxylase and Other Pterin Dependent Hydroxylases. The event concluded on October 3, 2007, with four concurrent workshops on 1) XANES Spectroscopy; 2) Microfocusing; 3) Imaging and X-ray Microscopy; and 4) Scientific Opportunities for Studying Laser Excited Dynamics at the LCLS.

6.   Cathy Knotts Presented with 2007 Lytle Award

       - SLAC Today article by Brad Plummer

From left: Christopher Kim (Chapman Univerisity), Cathy Knotts, Robert Szilagyi (Montana University), and Hiro Ogasawara (SSRL).
Congratulations to Cathy Knotts, who received the 2007 Farrel W. Lytle Award, given each year by the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) User Organization Executive Committee during the annual SSRL Users' Meeting.

Knotts came to SLAC in 2000 and has worked as manager of SSRL's User Research Administration ever since. She says, "I am extremely honored to receive this award, and even more so to have the privilege of being part of the User Administration team at SSRL. I am continually in awe of the pioneering work done by the scientists who built and utilize this facility, by the individuals who give generously of their energy to support it."

"From SSRL's point of view, I am delighted that Cathy received this prestigious award," said Joachim St÷hr, Director of SSRL. "She is the heart and soul of our user program, and embodies SSRL's mission to serve our users and implements that vision."

The Lytle Award was established in 1998 by the SSRL Organization Executive Committee to promote important technical or scientific accomplishments in synchrotron radiation-based science and to foster collaboration and efficient use of beam time among users and staff at SSRL.

7.   Users' Organization Meetings

      (contacts: C. Kim,; R. Szilagyi,; J. Hastings,

At the SSRL Users' Organization meeting on October 2, SSRLUOEC Chair Chris Kim gave a report summarizing the SSRLUOEC's activity for the 2006-2007 year, thanked the SSRL/LCLS 2007 organizers for an outstanding event, announced that Yuji Arai and Katherine Kantardjieff had been elected to the SSRLUOEC, and then turned the baton over to Robert Szilagyi who will chair the SSRLUOEC in 2007/08. Robert summarized the results from the 2007 user survey and solicited input into questions that could be added to the next survey which is planned for 2008.

Mike Lubell, APS Director of Public Affairs and CCNY Professor of Physics, shared his insights into 'Communicating Science for the Public' and summarized communication strategies and possible forums that can aid the dissemination of scientific achievements and research results to non-expert audiences.

Following the SSRL Users' Organization Meeting, Jerry Hastings and John Galayda led a discussion of how to organize the LCLS user community and prepare for general user access at the first LCLS experimental station, which is expected to be ready for first light in 2009.

An interim LCLS users' executive committee was formed with the responsibility to draft bylaws for the LCLS Users Organization. The goal is to have these ready to be adopted at the User Workshop in the March-April 2008 where the near term instrument capabilities and schedule will be discussed.

Users interested in learning more about experiments with the LCLS are encouraged to join the LCLS mailing lists in the areas of: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; Femtosecond Dynamics of Molecules; Nanoscale Dynamics of Condensed Matter; Imaging of Single Nanoparticles and Biomolecules; and/or Physics of Dense Plasmas and Warm Dense Matter. Additional meetings and pre-proposal workshops in these focus areas will be organized during 2008. Register at:

8.   OSTP Visits Bay Area Labs

Kate Beers and Jean Cottam of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (EOP) visited SLAC on Tuesday, October 2, as part of a tour of DOE labs in the Bay Area to learn more about our respective science programs. At SLAC they were given brief overview presentations on SSRL, PULSE, Elementary Particle Physics, Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology and Accelerator Research. The agenda included sitting in on a session of the joint SSRL/LCLS Users' Meeting focusing on LCLS science, a tour of the site, and listening to the Users' Meeting keynote lecture by Roger Kornberg.

9.   Film Crew Visits SLAC
       - SLAC Today article by Melinda Lee

On Tuesday, October 23, at 6:30 a.m., an army of production vehicles rolled through the Main Gate on their way to a full morning of filming at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL). The 40-person crew spent seven hours capturing images for a video on Stanford's outstanding research institutions. Having first filmed at BaBar the week before, the crew returned yesterday with a state-of-the-art high-definition camera to catch researchers in action at SSRL.

10.   User Administration Update
      (contact: C. Knotts,

X-ray/VUV Proposals due November 1: It's not too late to submit a new proposal for the November 1, 2007 deadline. More information and the forms for submitting proposals for beam time on SSRL X-ray and VUV beam lines is available at:

Macromolecular Crystallography Proposals due December 1: If you are interested
in submitting a proposal for the December 1, 2007 deadline for time on macromolecular crystallography beam lines, see:

X-ray/VUV Beam Time Requests: December 7 is the deadline for submitting Beam Time Requests for the February-May 2008 scheduling period.

SSRL/LCLS T-Shirts for Sale: Check in for beam time and check out fall's hottest look. We have t-shirts for sale this year. Get noticed in our new SSRL/LCLS-themed t-shirt, available in Texas Orange only. T-Shirt price $10. See Michelle Steger Bldg. 120, Rm. 219. Don't miss out!!!


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.


To leave the SSRL-HEADLINES distribution, send email as shown below:

To: LISTSERV@SSRL.SLAC.STANFORD.EDU Subject: (blank, or anything you like)

The message body should read


That's all it takes. (If we have an old email address for you that is forwarded to your current address, the system may not recognize who should be unsubscribed. In that case please write to and we'll try to figure out who you are so that you can be unsubscribed.)

If a colleague would like to subscribe to the list, he or she should send To: LISTSERV@SSRL.SLAC.STANFORD.EDU and use the message body


SSRL Welcome Page | Research Highlights | Beam Lines | Accel Physics
User Admin | News & Events | Safety Office


Last Updated: 2 NOV 2007
Content Owner: L. Dunn
Page Editor: L. Dunn