Funds for the latest generation of electron cryomicroscopy

The Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education handed over to SOLARIS the official decision to establish the National Cryo-EM Centre at the Polish partner facility, granting the requested financial support.

The successful application is the result of an agreement and cooperation of 17 leading scientific institutions in Poland in the area of structural biology. This very unique nation-wide consortium, led by Dr. Sebastian Glatt (the Malopolska Centre of Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków) and Dr. hab. Marcin Nowotny (the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Warsaw), was not only key to bring this breakthrough research technique to Poland, but also exemplifies how scientists from around the country are able to work efficiently together for a greater common goal. This state-of-the-art microscope will allow its users to follow the progress of other international research centres and will transfer Polish and international scientists into the first class of structural biology.

The advances made in cryo-EM have revolutionized the field of structural biology over the last decade. The increased recognition of this technology has also culminated in the Chemistry Nobel Prize being awarded to its creators in 2017. The development of this technique has opened up new research horizons, which resulted in a long list of groundbreaking studies published in the most prestigious scientific journals. Foremost, the anticipated results are extremely relevant for a better understanding of the function of the human body, of the formation of human diseases and of processes like aging, and can lead to the development of new effective therapies. Structural biology has already contributed to a huge progress in the treatment of various human diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity. Last but not least, the presence of a high-end cryo-electron microscope at SOLARIS means that Krakow will attract national and international structural biologists.

>Read more on the SOLARIS website

Image: The image of mimivirus made with the use of a cryo-electron microscope.
Credit: Xiao C, Kuznetsov YG, Sun S, Hafenstein SL, Kostyuchenko VA, et al. (2009) [CC BY 2.5]

The United Kingdom officially joins European XFEL

At signing ceremony in Berlin, UK becomes twelfth member

Today, the UK joined European XFEL as the research organization’s twelfth member state. In a ceremony at the British Embassy in Berlin, representatives of the UK government and the other contract parties including the German federal government signed the documents to join the European XFEL Convention. The UK’s contribution will amount to 26 million Euro, or about 2% of the total construction budget of 1.22 billion Euro (both in 2005 prices) and an annual contribution of about 2 % to the operation budget. The UK will be represented in European XFEL by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as shareholder.

Chair of the European XFEL Council Prof. Martin Meedom Nielsen who was present at the signing said: “All member states are very happy that the United Kingdom now officially joins the European XFEL. The UK science community has been very active in the project since the very beginning, and their contribution of ideas and know-how has been always highly appreciated. Together, we will maintain and develop the European XFEL as a world leading facility for X-ray science.”

>Read more on the European XFEL website

Picture: Buddy Bartelsen for British Embassy Berlin

MicroMAX, a new beamline for life science

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has generously decided to fund the construction and operation of a new beamline at the MAX IV Laboratory called MicroMAX with 255 million DKK.

MicroMAX has been proposed by the Swedish and Danish research community and will depend on close collaboration with user groups in developing the methods that will be used at MicroMAX. The group of Professor Richard Neutze at the University of Gothenburg has pioneered the research in this area.

– Looking back, I note that in November 2006 MicroMAX was priority #2 in the Swedish Research Council evaluation of the proposal to construct MAX IV Laboratory, says Richard Neutze. Now we have a construction and build-up of the beamline also stretching more than a decade. For the MAX IV project as a whole this is a hugely important decision, to get this level of support from a Danish Foundation. I believe that MicroMAX will be one of the major flagship projects for MAX IV Laboratory. Now we just have to build it, operate it and do some great science…. the fun bit!

>Read more on the MAX IV website

 

New capabilities on their way at MAX-IV

Two projects have received funding from the Carl Tryggers Stiftelse för Vetenskaplig Forskning

Atomic force microscopy at MAX IV for studies of novel carbon nanostructures and modern catalysts

Alexei Preobrajenski, Jan Knudsen, Nikolay Vinogradov

Scanning probe techniques such as scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) have revolutionized both fundamental and applied studies of solid surfaces in the last few decades by providing atomic scale characterization of the structure and electronic properties of materials. They are particularly informative in combination with a variety of spectroscopic techniques available at modern synchrotron radiation sources.

Development of a Molecular Jet source – en route to tackling science’s Grand Challenges

Noelle Walsh, Conny Såthe, Antti Kivimäki, Rainer Pärna, Maxim Tchaplyguine, Gunnar Öhrwall

Investigating the interaction of light with molecules and the determination of their properties and dynamics is not only essential to the understanding of a myriad of important processes that occur in nature but, it is also important for industrial and technological advancement.

The Low Density Matter (LDM) relevant beamlines at the MAX IV Laboratory will facilitate research projects that focus on a variety of photochemical reaction studies. A high performance molecular jet source is essential to the collection of high quality experimental data – in particular – the collection of high quality electron/ion multi-coincidence data with excellent momentum resolution.

Read more on the MAX-IV website.

image: Claudia Struzzi and Nikolay Vinogradov working in the scanning tunneling microscopy laboratory at MAX IV

ForMAX – wood research for a better future

MAX IV Laboratory has received 100 million SEK from Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation for the investment in a new beamline, ForMAX, designed to serve both academia and industry. The new beamline is tailor-made for solving research questions related to materials from wood and will be a part of the transition to a bioeconomy. ForMAX is part of Treesearch, a national research platform for research and competence building in the field of new materials and specialty chemicals from forest raw materials.

Read more on the MAX-IV website