Grant Success for Oxford Crystallographers

A group of crystallography researchers from the Biochemistry, Pathology and Chemistry Departments has recently won funds to purchase a piece of equipment which significantly enhances the X-ray crystallography facility in the Biochemistry Department.

Computer-generated crystal graphic

The grant, from the Wellcome Trust, will enable the department to purchase a state-of-the-art CCD X-ray detector which it has had on loan from the manufacturers Bruker AXS for the past 3 years.

X-ray crystallography is the most widely-used method for solving the 3D structure of proteins. During the procedure, the X-rays are scattered by crystals of the protein and their pattern provides information about the shape of the molecule. The X-rays are detected using a highly efficient CCD detector.

The detector which has been on loan to the department is fast, efficient and easy to use. It has already enabled researchers to solve the structures of many important biomedical proteins including those involved in pathogen virulence, antibiotic biosynthesis, the cell division cycle and oxygen sensing.

In addition to high quality equipment, the X-ray facility relies on the support of the Facilities Manager, Dr Ed Lowe. Dr Lowe provides high level training and assistance to all users and maintains the equipment in peak condition.

The successful bid was put together by Professors Garman, Handford, Lea, Noble and Schofield. This cross-departmental representation reflects the wide use made of the Biochemistry Department's crystallography facility, with around 30 users coming from the Chemistry, Physiology, Pharmacology, Pathology, and Physics Departments.

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