"X-ray Vision: The evolution of structural biology at the ESRF."
Dr. Sean Mc Sweeney, ESRF Structural Biology Group.
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 10 am
Seminar Room, Bldg. 725
Hosted by: Qun Shen
The practice of structural biology has under gone revolutionary changes in the last decade. In the "dark ages" crystal samples were mounted and aligned by hand, configuration of the beamline required intimate knowledge of the optical components and their limitations! Today samples are mounted and aligned using automated systems and the experimenter has the freedom to configure (and reconfigure) the beamline according to their needs safe in the knowledge that software and hardware are able to cope with and reasonable request made upon them. As structural biology becomes increasingly multidisciplinary the tools developed for macromolecular crystallography are improving the potential for complementary techniques. The renewal of the ESRF is bringing about changes that we hope will, once again, change the way in which structure determination takes place. The core elements of this plan are in developments - new beamlines and the necessary improved automation - with commissioning and first experiments foreseen in 2013. The next phase of the ESRF upgrade includes the proposal to upgrade the storage ring. This project offers the possibility to construct a structural biology beamline capable of delivering photons with flux densities unimaginable at current storage rings. The implications of this fact for structural biology are profound, and using such sources implies re-imagining how data collection can occur. The first workshop to discuss this issue was held recently. In delivering the level of service to the European structural biology community would not have been possible without a strong, cohesive team performance. The key element in creating the team ethic at the ESRF has been the establishment of a strong in-house structural biology research programme - its existence provides an impetuous for all developments felt by the User community. The practical consequences and compromises necessary in this endeavour are discuss