Marc Allaire is a beamline scientist for Sector 5, which consists of Beamlines 5.0.1, 5.0.2, and 5.0.3, in the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology (BCSB) team at the Advanced Light Source (ALS). Allaire came to the ALS from Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he had been responsible for macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamlines and the biological small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) program.
Allaire has been using synchrotrons in his own biochemistry research since 1992, when he worked on the viral 3C protease at the Photon Factory in Japan. Early in his career he had to deal with the effects of radiation damage to samples and developed and proposed a new model to explain the loss of diffraction from x-ray exposure to protein crystals. Over the years he led the field in the structure determination of challenging projects, including membrane protein complexes.
The BCSB has a strong pharmaceutical user base, so he is involved heavily in structural biology for drug discovery. In addition to the sheer quantity of structures being solved, he enjoys the challenge of solving the growing range of structures and working on new ways to speed up the process. He has a lot of experience developing process improvements for protein crystallography, including the incorporation of robotics. Allaire participates in education and outreach by providing training sessions for users who want to access the robotics capabilities available at BCSB.