This May I published a paper in the journal Biochemistry with my previous lab group at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The publication is about the development of a new platform technology for high-throughput protein crystallography which has potential to greatly accelerate the field of structure-based drug discovery. We analyzed protein crystals using x-ray diffraction at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) and Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. X-ray crystallography is important because it can reveal the atomic three-dimensional structure of proteins, which allows scientists to visualize where drugs bind and how they work on the molecular level. This is even helpful for discovering new drugs and understanding how things like proteins function in the body.
Front-page of the Biochemistry website featuring our article
What was unique about our experiment, was that we transported very tiny protein crystals (microcrystals) through the air using sound waves. To do this I went to California and used a special instrument called the Echo Liquid Handler, manufactured by Labcyte, Inc., which uses acoustic drop ejection to rapidly dispense nanoliter droplets of fluid.
The Department of Energy is currently building a new light source where I work at Brookhaven National Laboratory called NSLS-II for $912m which will come online in 2014. This technology we developed in this paper should help speed up the process for data collection at the new NSLS-II.