515th Brookhaven Lecture on Wednesday, 6/29: 'Structural Biology: Studying Living Things as They Jiggle and Wiggle'

Seán McSweeney enlarge

Seán McSweeney

At this exact second, some cells in your body are dying, others are humming along, some are just beginning to form, and every single one is operating according to unique proteins following the instructions coded in your DNA. Some of those proteins help your antibodies fight off bacteria that make you sick, some influence how you taste the food you eat, and others are vital in repairing DNA damaged by harmful chemical compounds as well as radiation from the sun.

All proteins functions are significantly influenced by their form, or "structure," and scientists have "solved the structures" for more than 108,500 proteins, which have been characterized and archived in the Worldwide Protein Data Bank. Researchers work with these biological structures to decode mysteries of genetics, improve human health and our ability to fight off diseases, and much more. Research facilities and tools like the now-decommissioned National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven Lab were revolutionary for studies in structural biology and now with NSLS-II—also at Brookhaven Lab and the brightest, most advanced of its kind today—scientists are preparing for new, exciting challenges and opportunities.

Join Seán McSweeney of the National Synchrotron Light Source II for the 515th Brookhaven Lecture, titled "Structural Biology: Studying Living Things as They Jiggle and Wiggle" in Berkner Hall at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29. All are invited to this free talk, which is open to the public. Refreshments will be offered before and after the lecture. Visitors to the Lab 16 and older must carry a photo ID while on-site. Add to calendar

McSweeney will begin his talk with an introduction to proteins and their structure, the crystallography techniques scientists use to study proteins, and associated challenges. He will then explain how ultra-precise, ultra-bright x-rays from NSLS-II can provide researchers with new capabilities to study protein dynamics—as they jiggle and wiggle—to learn more about proteins, including in their remarkable roles in repairing damaged DNA.

To join McSweeney for dinner at a restaurant off site after the talk, contact Jean Smiles (Ext. 4696).

About the Speaker

McSweeney is deputy director for Brookhaven Lab's Photon Science Division at NSLS-II and director for the Life Science and Structural Biology Resource at NSLS-II. He earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Manchester University in the United Kingdom in 1991, before his time as a beamline scientist at the Daresbury Laboratory in the United Kingdom from 1991 to 1994. At the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Grenoble, France, he was staff scientist from 1994 to 2000 and he led the Structural Biology group at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility from 2000 to 2013. McSweeney arrived at Brookhaven Lab in 2013 as associate director for structural biology in the Photon Sciences Division at NSLS-II.

2016-6407  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom