Life Science applications of synchrotron light
Pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers are making increasing use of macromolecular crystallography. Improvements in the speed of data collection and solving structures mean that it is now possible to obtain structural information on a timescale that allows chemists and structural biologists to work together in the development of promising compounds into drug candidates.
Membrane proteins are estimated to represent up to 30% of the gene products of a typical genome, and are of considerable interest to the pharmaceutical industry (almost 50% of drug compounds in clinical use are targeted at membrane proteins). The microfocus MX beamline I24 and the onsite Membrane Protein Laboratory enable structural studies of this challenging group of proteins.
Non-crystalline diffraction studies are vital to gaining a better understanding of activities such as protein denaturation, emulsification and phase separation, binding and unbinding, and the control of interfaces. Some diseases involve a change in the fold of a protein, so that the protein becomes pathogenic (for example Creutzfeld-Jacob-Desease (CJD), Alzheimer's Disease, BSE).
Circular dichroism is a spectroscopic technique which enables the study of molecular interactions - an exponentially growing area in the field of structure-function relationships of biologically important molecules. Infrared microspectroscopy allows not only molecular identification but also spatial resolution, which is necessary to the understanding of the physical-chemical properties of the vast range of materials and surfaces that are organised on a microstructural level. These include biomedical samples like tissue and or single cells that can be mapped in plots showing molecular composition versus position by IR imaging technique.
To discuss possible life science experiments at Diamond, please contact Martin Walsh.
Potential industrial users should contact Elizabeth Shotton.
Listen to Diamond scientists and users talk about life science applications in the Diamond podcast
Life Science Highlights
- A new vaccine for the Foot and Mouth disease virus
27 Mar 2013
The 2001 Foot and Mouth disease virus (FMDV) outbreak in the UK caused the deaths of over 7 million livestock and cost the economy in the region of £2bn. Globally it remains one of the most economically Read more...
- Tools for cancer research and diagnosis: infrared spectroscopy and microscopy
01 Mar 2013
Since the middle of the 20th century, infrared (IR) spectroscopy coupled to microscopy has been used as a non destructive, label free, highly sensitive and specific analytical method to reveal molecular Read more...
- Improving the function of orthopaedic implants
18 Feb 2013
Orthopaedic implants improve the quality of life of thousands of people every year, reducing pain and increasing mobility and function. In the past implants have been made of metal alloys and polyethylene, Read more...
- Lighting up DNA at the flick of a switch
03 Jul 2012
A collaboration of scientists from Diamond Light Source and the University of Reading has revealed the binding mechanism of a so-called ‘light-switch’ effect complex, a type of chemical compound Read more...
- Water, essential to life… or is it?
13 Apr 2012
Proteins are large biological molecules that are synonymous with living things. They allow us to convert food into energy, supply oxygen to our blood and muscles, and drive our immune systems. It Read more...