Biological Sciences

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Five Years of Illumination: SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source

Five years ago, the brightest source of X-rays on the planet lit up at SLAC. The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser's scientific and technical progress since its momentous "first light" have been no less luminous, say those who have played a role in its success.

Fossil Leaves Preserve Living Chemistry

X-ray studies conducted at SLAC and in the United Kingdom have resurrected the detailed chemistry of 50-million-year-old leaves from fossils found in the western United States and found striking similarities to their modern descendants.

Data-mining for Crystal 'Gold' at SLAC's X-ray Laser

A new tool for analyzing mountains of data from SLAC’s Linac Coherent Lightsource (LCLS) X-ray laser can produce high-quality images of important proteins using fewer samples. Scientists hope to use it to reveal the structures and functions of proteins that have proven elusive, as well as mine data from past experiments for new information

LAMP: A New Tool Turns On at SLAC's X-ray Laser

A 2-ton instrument the size of a compact car, now available at SLAC's X-ray laser, makes it possible to capture more detailed images of atoms, molecules, nanoscale features of solids, and individual particles such as viruses and airborne soot.

X-ray Laser Maps Important Drug Target

Researchers have used one of the brightest X-ray sources on the planet to map the 3-D structure of an important cellular gatekeeper known as a G protein-coupled receptor, or GPCR, in a more natural state than possible before.

Hijacked Protein May Lead to New Therapeutic Interventions

Researchers hope to hijack a natural process called RNA interference to block the production of proteins linked to disease and treat medical conditions for which conventional drugs do not work, including cancer, heart disease, HIV and Parkinson’s disease.

Ribosome Research Takes Shape at SLAC

In a new state-of-the-art lab at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, components of ribosomes – tiny biological machines that make new proteins and play a vital role in gene expression and antibiotic treatments – form crystals in a liquid solution.

Signs at the lab's entryway warn of the potential for contamination – these delicate samples can be damaged by human touch, a sneeze or a dust particle.

X-ray Laser Brings Cellular Messengers into Focus

Last year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry – shared by Stanford School of Medicine Professor Brian Kobilka and Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University – recognized groundbreaking research in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). GPCRs are embedded in cell membranes. They interact with signaling molecules outside of cells and trigger responses within cells.