The Industrial Liaison team is the first point of contact for industrial users of Diamond and offer a range of services to help them get the most out of their experiments ranging from experiment design and planning through to final results and reporting. In this news update Elizabeth Shotton, Head of Industrial Liaison, shares some examples of ways in which the team collaborates with universities and Diamond staff to engage with industry.
Firstly, we are delighted to welcome Professor Sven Schroeder to Diamond. Sven is the recently appointed Royal Academy of Engineering Bragg Centenary Professor of Engineering Applications of Synchrotron Science. The Bragg Centenary Chair is the result of a major national collaboration between Diamond, the fuel and lubricant additive developer Infineum UK Ltd, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the University of Leeds and commemorates the discovery and development of X-ray crystallography by Professor William Henry Bragg and his son William Lawrence Bragg in 1914. The key technical breakthrough resulted in a Nobel Prize for the Braggs and underpins much of the research performed at synchrotrons like Diamond today. Sven’s work involves the use of X-ray techniques to understand molecular structure and optimise chemical processes in fields as diverse as energy and pharmaceuticals.
The new Bragg Centenary Chair, Prof Sven Schroeder (left), with Physical Science Director Prof Trevor Rayment (middle) and Prof Pete Dowding, Principal Scientist from Infineum UK.
The strong collaboration between academia and industry will help Infineum to understand the performance of their products in unprecedented levels of detail.
As part of our outreach activities, we hold a number of events throughout the year to showcase the outstanding science done at Diamond and highlight its relevance to industry. Collaborating with the Membrane Protein Laboratory (MPL), a Wellcome Trust-funded joint venture between Diamond and Imperial College London, the Industrial Liaison team recently held a Membrane Protein Structure Determination Symposium for industrial scientists. The event brought together structural biologists and biochemists from a wide selection of pharmaceutical companies, allowing delegates to gain experience of the latest developments in membrane protein research in Diamond’s dedicated state-of-the-art facilities.
With recent advances in both technology and sample preparation methods, it is now possible to investigate the structure of membrane proteins, previously too difficult to access. Membrane proteins are important pharmaceutical targets with 60% of the current marketed drugs targeting this class of proteins. However, a major challenge in designing drugs to target membrane proteins is the need for high resolution structural information. The symposium covered recent approaches devised to address the major challenges related to the expression, extraction, purification, and crystallisation of membrane proteins. It also focused on the latest developments in X-ray crystallography experiments at Diamond to obtain structural information from these tiny, extremely fragile but very important crystals.
Elizabeth Shotton, Head of Industrial Liaison.
The symposium comprised of lectures from experts in the field, a supplier exhibition, and hands-on practical sessions during which delegates learnt about sample preparation methods, data collection, and analysis strategies. Responses to the symposium were universally positive with representatives from various pharma companies observing how useful it was to hear from world leading experts and meet other individuals from organisations working within the field.
In other news, the industrial activity at Diamond continues to play an important role and as more beamlines become available, our industrial usage is becoming broader, making use of a wider range of Diamond’s facilities. We’re very pleased to announce that we have recently had first industrial users on I06, I13, B21 and B22 and look forward to many more exciting experiments in the future.
For more information on industrial applications at Diamond, or if you have any questions for the Industrial Liaison team, contact Elizabeth Shotton: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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