As 2011 draws to a close, we look back on a year of significant developments and achievements for Diamond and our user community. In September, Bill Clegg, Emeritus Professor of Structural Crystallography at Newcastle University, was appointed chair of the Diamond User Committee (DUC). Bill has ambitious plans to grow the number of users getting actively involved in ensuring Diamond is meeting their needs both now and in the future. He’s also very keen to encourage innovative ideas, particularly among the younger members of the user community.
Experience breeds success and both Prof Dave Stuart, Diamond’s Life Science Director, and Prof Dame Louise Johnson, Diamond Fellow, have had their achievements recognised over the summer. Dave received an Honorary degree from the University of Leeds and Louise has been elected as Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences.
Attendees at this year’s User Meeting were given a fascinating keynote address by Prof Venki Ramakrishnan, joint winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the structure of the ribosome. With the help of synchrotrons like Diamond, Venki predicts exciting macromolecular crystallography breakthroughs on technically challenging structures such as membrane protein complexes, molecular machines, chromatin and neuronal synapse structures.
We highlight two recent membrane protein discoveries, along with results relating to cancer treatment, polymorphism in painkillers and protecting museum staff from mercury contaminated specimens.
Enhancements to our experimental capabilities are reported in this issue, both in relation to the delivery of circularly polarised light on several beamlines and a ‘low-alpha’ mode of operation that generates short X-ray pulses in the storage ring, which is really beneficial for researchers doing time-resolved experiments.
Our publications database continues to grow and we are regularly working with research groups to help them promote their high profile journal papers to mainstream media who are increasingly looking to Diamond for science stories that will inform and inspire the public. There are now almost 1,600 journal and conference papers in our database and 700 depositions in the protein data bank.
As we prepare to bring the final Phase II beamlines into operation in 2012, five Phase III beamlines are in the design phase and the decision on the remaining Phase III beamline will be made by the end of this year.
On the 27th March 2012, Diamond will celebrate its 10th Anniversary and plans are underway to mark this milestone throughout the year with staff, users, schools and the general public, both in the local community and further afield. Our Light Reading Fiction competition (www.lightreading.org) is currently running and winning stories will feature in our celebrations next year. It has already had a successful pilot among staff and is now open to all, helping us to engage with people who are, as yet, unfamiliar with synchrotrons and their amazing capabilities. We hope you enjoy this issue of Diamond News and welcome all ideas and feedback.
Call Silvana Westbury on 01235 778238 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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