Biomedical Technology Resources
Collaboration Through Dissemination
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Synchrotron Radiation Structural Biology Resource

Keith O. Hodgson, Ph.D.

Center Overview

The SSRL Structural Molecular Biology (SMB) program operates as an integrated resource and has three primary areas (or cores) of technological research and development and scientific focus: macromolecular crystallography (MC), x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), and small angle x-ray scattering/diffraction (SAXS).Central to the core technological developments in all three of these areas is the development and utilization of improved detectors and instrumentation, especially to be able to take maximum advantage of the increasingly high brightness of SSRL's electron storage ring (SPEAR3). There is also research and development in new methods - in techniques and instrumentation development and deployment. Included is the use of enhanced computing and data management tools to provide more "user-friendly, real-time and on-line" data reduction and analysis. The innovations in beam line, instrumentation and methodology developments are guided by a very close coupling to the collaborative projects aimed at solving forefront problems in SMB in all three core areas. There is significant synergy between the three core areas and with the collaborative projects to address increasingly complex and challenging problems. This center is a part of the structural molecular biology (SMB) user facilities, supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Center for Research Resources and by the Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research. The SMB program seeks to sustain and enhance the general user program through excellent support, training and dissemination.

Impact on Human Health

Knowledge of the 3D structures of enzymes, metalloproteins, membrane-bound proteins, immunoglobulins and other macromolecules is relevant to important biological problems including metabolism and how these structures change in different states or evolve in time as reactions or events like protein folding or conformational changes occur. Such information is more broadly important to the health-related areas of drug design, cancer research, and virology.