Two scientists in the Area, Greg Hura and Vivek Mutalik, are heading up research projects that are part of the Department of Energy’s Biopreparedness Research Virtual Environment (BRaVE) initiative. Yasuo Yoshikuni, a scientist at the Joint Genome Institute, is part of a third project that is being led by Brookhaven National Laboratory. These projects will leverage bioimaging expertise to develop better therapies and vaccines for viruses, develop a high-throughput platform to rapidly design countermeasures to drug-resistant pathogens, and unlock the molecular basis of plant-pathogen interactions to create resilient bioenergy crops.
Stanford researchers have used cryogenic 3D imaging at the National Center for X-ray Tomography (NCXT) to identify a new pathway for clearing misfolded proteins from cells. This work presents a potential therapy target for age-related disorders like Alzheimer, Parkinson, and Huntington Diseases.
Berkeley Lab and Genentech are collaborating to make the next generation of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), the drug delivery technology used in the COVID-19 vaccines. With their combined expertise in structural biology and pharmaceutical science, the team is designing LNPs that can precisely deliver vaccines and therapeutics to target tissues while improving the product’s shelf life and duration of action.
The SIBYLS beamline at the Advanced Light Source was used to characterize proteins dreamt up by a reinforcement learning algorithm. The algorithm, developed by researchers in David Baker’s lab at the University of Washington, is powered by the machine learning strategy behind computer programs capable of defeating top human players at board games like chess and go. The advance could create a pathway to greater control when designing therapeutic proteins, vaccines, and other molecules.
A protein structure obtained at Beamline 2.0.1 (“Gemini”) at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) has recently been published in the literature and deposited into the Protein Data Bank—two significant firsts for this beamline. The structure helped provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms involved in triggering certain inflammatory diseases. This milestone, which utilized Gemini’s capacity to target crystals smaller than 20 microns, was almost a decade in the making. Simon Morton, now a semi-retired staff scientist at ALS, and Corie Ralston, facility director at the Molecular Foundry and a staff scientist in the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Division (MBIB), helped bring the microfocus beamline to the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology (BCSB) in 2014. Beamline operations are now led by Marc Allaire, a biophysicist staff scientist in MBIB and head of the BCSB.
Read More in the Berkeley Lab News Center.