As the name implies, crystallography requires crystals – specifically, purified samples of the molecule of interest, coaxed into a crystal form. But most molecules form powders composed of jumbled granules, not picture-ready crystals. A new computer algorithm, combined with a state-of-the-art laser, can adapt X-ray crystallography for the many not-so-neat-and-tidy compounds that scientists seek to study.
Photosynthesis – the enzyme-based process of converting carbon dioxide into food, using water and sunlight – is literally the foundation of life on Earth, and understanding the reaction at an atomic level could lead to vast production of renewable fuels made from greenhouse gases sucked out of the air. A Berkeley Lab team has been uncovering precise, step-by-step details of photosynthesis for years. We spoke to two members, co-lead author and senior scientist Vittal Yachandra and co-first author and postdoctoral researcher Philipp Simon, about their latest study, shooting stuff with lasers, and why they chose this field.
By Ashleigh Papp “The dream of predicting a protein shape just from its gene sequence is now a reality,” said Paul Adams, Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences at Berkeley Lab. For Adams and other structural biologists who study proteins, predicting their shape offers a key to understanding their function and accelerating treatments for diseases like
An antibody therapy that appears to neutralize all known SARS-CoV-2 strains, and other coronaviruses, was developed with a little help from structural biologist Jay Nix
A Berkeley Lab intern and his mentor develop an algorithm that will extract better structures from low-quality crystallography diffraction data