ASU teams up with 7 research universities to establish new science center

Wed, 2013-11-06

Arizona State University is teaming up with seven other research universities to establish a new Science and Technology Center (STC), sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with an initial five-year, $25-million grant (extendable for another five years).

The STC award is one of three granted by the NSF in 2013, with the others going to Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The center will be based at the University at Buffalo (UB). It is expected to transform the field of structural and dynamic molecular biology, including drug development, by using X-ray lasers to peer into biological molecules.

The BioXFEL center will focus on developing a new bio-imaging technique – including an advanced form of X-ray crystallography, called snapshot serial femtosecond nanocrystallography – to analyze a vast array of molecules at which drug molecules can be targeted.

This exciting new technique, the focus of several recent papers published in Science and Nature, has shown the potential to spur much needed innovation in the pharmaceutical field because it will provide scientists with new insights into how biological molecules function and what might be happening when disease occurs, and help determine what compounds could modify this activity.

Researchers at BioXFEL also will develop “crystallography without crystals,” in which X-ray snapshots (which are so brief that they avoid damaging the samples) can be used to image single viruses and large molecules, which currently cannot be crystallized for conventional crystallography.  Read more here 


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