- Celebrating the Thermo Fisher Scientific agreement during the official launch of eBIC. Left to right: Dave Stuart, Diamond Light Source, Rishi Matadeen, Dan Shine and Raymond Schrijver, Thermo
Fisher Scientific, Jason van Rooyen and Elizabeth Shotton, Diamond Light Source.
As Diamond matures, the expansion and development of expertise and complementary facilities have become increasingly important to both our academic and industrial users. The Industrial Liaison service offer for integrated structural biology provides a synergistic approach, where our clients can access both world leading technology and talent across Macromolecular Crystallography (MX), fragment based drug discovery, Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) techniques. Co-location of these advanced characterisation facilities at Diamond, supported by expert staff, leads to rapid technique development, streamlined sample handling processes and increased opportunities for innovation in all fields.
Cryo-EM in particular is an area of growth, as the popularity of the technique as an alternative route to high resolution structural information from hard-to-crystallise systems is rapidly increasing, far outstripping the availability of high-end microscopes. Few structural biology groups in industry yet have access to their own instruments, and specialist expertise is needed to fully exploit the power of the technique. Access to Diamond’s industrial cryo- EM service can therefore provide expert advice on experiment design, sample preparation, data collection and analysis; ideal for those starting out with cryo-EM or experienced users with complex problems to solve.
Perhaps our most significant collaboration of 2018 was entering into partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific to provide two new dedicated microscopes for industrial use, based at Diamond. The new instruments installed at eBIC (electron BioImaging Centre) include a Thermo Scientific Glacios Cryo Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and a Thermo Scientific Krios G3i Cryo-TEM. Access to both a Glacios and a Krios at one location optimises productivity and time-to-result because of the designed-in connectivity between the two instruments. Scientists are able to first pre-screen samples on the Glacios to find the best quality samples before advancing to the higher resolution imaging on the Krios. These additional microscopes create further capacity for both industrial and academic cryo-EM experiments at Diamond. The partnership with Thermo Fisher has cemented eBIC’s position as one of the largest and most advanced cryo-EM sites in the world, embedded in a hub of complementary advanced synchrotron based methods for advancing our understanding and treatment of viruses and diseases.
A key aspect of the partnership is the joint provision of the key expertise needed to exploit these resources fully, and offer professional cryo-EM services in sample preparation, cryo-EM screening and high-end data collection, designed exclusively for the pharmaceutical industry. The two new microscopes are staffed by dedicated industrial liaison scientists. Additional staff will join the team during 2019 to further enhance our service.
Fragment-based lead discovery is a drug discovery process that has revolutionised the pharmaceutical industry, providing valuable and cost-effective insights for rational drug design in the early stages. Rather than focusing on a few large complex compounds, it explores a larger part of the existing chemical space from the drug targets of interest, providing new entry routes for the development of lead compounds. The unique XChem facility for X-ray structure-accelerated, synthesis-aligned fragment medicinal chemistry, established at Diamond in partnership with the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), provides a streamlined, secure and effective route to fragment screening.