Corie Ralston and Marc Allaire, both staff scientists, have been promoted to new leadership positions. Ralston has assumed the position of Facility Director for the Biological Nanostructures Facility at the Molecular Foundry. Allaire has been appointed Head of the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division’s Berkeley Center for Structural Biology (BCSB). The BCSB manages six macromolecular crystallography beamlines at the Advanced Light Source (ALS).
For the past 10 months, Ralston has been leading the facility as its acting director, as well as serving as the Head for the BCSB at the Advanced Light Source (ALS). Prior to her tenure at the Biological Nanostructures Facility, Ralston served as the MBIB Division Deputy for Science for over three years. While she will be moving to the Molecular Foundry, and supporting its mission as a DOE User Facility for Nanoscale Science, she will continue her involvement with MBIB through a secondary appointment, and its activities at the ALS through her internal research portfolio.
Allaire joined the BCSB as a beamline scientist in 2013 and took on the larger role of deputy head last September. As the Head, Allaire will lead eight employees and manage a budget of $3.5 million. The BCSB operates its beamlines for multiple sponsors, including NIH, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and several pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He takes over from Ralston, who has headed the BCSB since 2012.
Allaire came to the BCSB from Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he had been responsible for macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamlines and the biological small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) program. He has wide-ranging structural biology experience, from the study of radiation damage to structure determination of challenging systems like membrane protein complexes. The BCSB has a strong pharmaceutical user base, so Allaire is involved heavily in structural biology for drug discovery. In addition to working with users at the BCSB on a wide variety of projects, he has implemented process improvements for macromolecular crystallography, including a fully automated data collection pipeline.
The Molecular Foundry and Advanced Light Source are DOE Office of Science User Facilities. The Biological Nanostructures Facility studies the synthesis, analysis and mimicry of biological nanostructures.
The BCSB provides state-of-the-art beamlines through continual development and outstanding service for crystallographers around the world, enabling structure solution on even the most complex biological systems.