XFEL data analysis for structural biology

X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs) have advanced research in structure biology, by exploiting their ultra-short and bright X-ray pulses. The resulting “diffraction before destruction” experimental approach allows data collection to outrun radiation damage, a crucial factor that has often limited resolution in the structure determination of biological molecules. 


Structure solved from smallest protein crystals yet

The room temperature structure of natively formed protein nanocrystals consisting of 9,000 unit cells has been solved to 2 Å resolution using an unattenuated X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) beam, representing, by far, the smallest protein crystals used for protein structure determination by X-ray crystallography to date.


Markelz receives $1.35 million to study molecules’ vibrations, opening new possibilities for an emerging field

Molecules vibrate and resonate. These vibrations enable life to function, they are believed to play a role in photosynthesis in plants and protein folding in general. BioXFEL participant and University at Buffalo physicist Andrea Markelz has recently been awarded $1.35 million in grants, from the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation, to research the nature these vibrations in protein, and to develop instrumentation that aids other researchers doing the same.


New way to discover structures of membrane proteins

Membrane protein perform a variety of functions vital to the survival of an organism. As a result understanding how they work and why they malfunction has been an interest of researchers. However determination of membrane protein structures has remained a challenge in large part due to the difficulty in establishing experimental conditions where the correct conformation of the protein in isolation from its native environment is preserved. This is partly due to the fact that detergents are often used to separate the protein from their lipid membrane encasing. Detergents often also strip away fat molecules crucial to stabilizing the protein. Researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered a new method for stabilizing membrane protein using a polymer originally developed for the auto industry. 


Nature article sheds light on new machine learning algorithms for protein structure predicition

A new set of machine learning algorithms developed by University of Toronto researchers allows for quicker and more reliable generation of 3D structures of protein molecules. The algorithms could potentially revolutionize the development of drug therapies for a range of diseases, from Alzheimer's to cancer.


Measure by measure: X-rays show viral transformation

Viral multiplication

A new insight into how viruses replicated based on X-ray crystallography work by a team at Thomas Jefferson University could ultimately lead to new antiviral drugs to treat pathogenic DNA viruses.