UK XFEL Townhall Meeting - Life Sciences and Bio Medicine

Jul 29. till Jul 30.

UK XFEL Townhall Meeting - Life Sciences and Bio Medicine

This meeting is to discuss and explore short-, mid- and long-term options for Life Sciences topics relevant to the UK XFEL Project. This includes:
• dynamic (time-resolved) structural biology, spectroscopy, imaging and more
• pure samples (crystal, solution) and/or in complex native environment
• X-ray diffraction and scattering, electron diffraction, cryo-EM, AI-based predictions, X-ray microscopy
• engagement with the pharmaceutical industry
• emerging opportunities and crossing traditional discipline boundaries

29/07/20242024-07-29 - 30/07/20242024-07-30
The Royal Society, London

About the UK XFEL project

An advanced 'next-generation' X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) facility would create key new opportunities across the sciences and in technology, help to answer pressing scientific questions, and contribute to solving societal challenges of major importance. The next phase of the UK XFEL project is to produce a UK XFEL Conceptual Design Report which aims analyse what is needed to deliver the world leading science highlighted by the Science Case. To these ends, several town hall events are planned across the UK. These events are free to attend and open to research facilities, universities and industry.

About the event

The UK XFEL project has advanced to a second phase: Conceptual Design and Options Analysis. Alongside this process, which will be completed in October 2025, we will develop an updated Science and Technology Case. As part of that endeavour, we are holding a series of town hall meetings around the UK themed on different aspects of science and technology that an advanced XFEL is anticipated to impact. With this event, we will be focussing on Life Sciences.

This meeting will provide informationabout the whole UK XFEL project and will promote an open, honest, and wide-ranging discussion on modern R&D methods in structural biology that includes X-ray crystallography, cryoEM, and computational strategies. The agenda includes frontier talks from well-known and early career scientists, as well as time for discussions and networking opportunities.


Attending this event is free, but registration is mandatory. Spaces are limited and available on a first come first served basis.


Registration includes access to two days of scientific programme, lunches, refreshments, a drinks reception and a conference dinner (by invitation).

Attendees are required to cover the costs of their accommodation and transport to and from The Royal Society.


  • Structural biology via X-ray crystallography, cryoEM, and electron diffraction
  • Time-resolved dynamic structural biology (crystallography, cryoEM, spectroscopy)
  • Synergies between XFELs, synchrotrons, and electron facilities around the world
  • AI and computational methods – engineering biology for dynamics and function
  • Single particle imaging – where we are now, and where might we go
  • Industrial life science R&D at large scale facilities
  • Biology R&D needs more than just 'the machine' – scarce samples of high quality have the highest impact on nearly all emerging results
  • Archiving, curating, and serving complex (meta)data to/from the dynamic structural biology communities
  • Best practices at XFELs and at synchrotrons
  • Discussions and planning for a potential UK XFEL in context to global capabilities


Monday 29th July 2024
09:00 09:30 Arrival & registrations
09:30 11:00 Allen M. Orville Diamond Light Source Session Chair
09:30 09:50 Paul Aden UK XFEL The UK XFEL Project - Project Overview
09:50 10:15 Jon Marangos Imperial College The UK XFEL Project - Science Case Overview, Physics and X-ray Photonics, Condensed Matter, MEC
10:15 10:30 Tom Penfold Newcastle University The UK XFEL Project - Science Case, Chemistry, Industrial Applications
10:30 10:45 Jasper van Thor Imperial College The UK XFEL Project - Science Case, Life Science 
10:45 11:00 David Dunning UK XFEL, ASTeC The UK XFEL Project - Conceptual Design
11:00 11:15 Coffee Break
11:15 13:00 Christopher J. Schofield University of Oxford Session Chair
11:15 12:00 Ilme Schlichting Max Planck Institute for Medical Research KEYNOTE talk: In biology, the sample is the science
12:00 12:30 Patrick Rabe University of Oxford XFELs early in a career: time-resolved studies of O2 activation
12:30 13:00 Briony Yorke University of Leeds XFELs early in a career:
13:00 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 15:30 TBC TBC Session Chair
14:00 14:30 Alistair Siebert & Martin Walsh Diamond Light Source HeXI & eBIC - using electrons for structural biology
14:30 15:00 Radoslav Enchev Francis Crick Institute enabling time-resolved cryoEM
15:00 15:30 Keith Moffat University of Chicago Dynamics and Kinetics in XFEL-Based Structural Biology
15:30 15:45 Coffee Break
15:45 17:45 TBC TBC Session Chair
15:45 16:15 Fernanda Duarte Gonzalez University of Oxford Computational Chemistry, Reaction Mechanisms
16:15 16:45 Randy J. Read University of Cambridge CASP16, AI's impact on life science R&D
16:45 17:15 Danny D. Sahtoe Hubrecht Institute AI, protein design, engineering biology
17:15 17:45 Eriko Nango Tohuko University Time-resolved SFX – pump-probe approaches at SACLA
17:45 18:30 Posters & Drinks
18:30 20:00 Dinner (by invitation)
20:00 21:00 Allen M. Orville Diamond Light Source Session Chair
20:00 20:45 Richard Neutze University of Gothenburg KEYNOTE talk: XFELs - Observations and Opportunities
Tuesday 30th July 2024
09:00 10:30 Adrian Mancuso Diamond Light Source Session Chair
09:00 09:30 Mark Hunter SLAC / LCLS Biology at LCLS & LCLS-II-HE
09:30 10:00 Philip Johnson PSI / SwissFEL Time-Resolved Biology at SwissFEL
10:00 10:30 Jaehyun Park PAL- XFEL Research platforms to study static and dynamic structures of macromolecules at PAL-XFEL
10:30 10:45 Coffee Break
10:45 13:00 TBC TBC Session Chair
10:45 11:15 Ricard Bean European XFEL Biology at the European XFEL
11:15 11:45 Katerina Dörner European XFEL Labs, sample quality, and delivery strategies matter
11:45 12:15 Daniela Rupp ETH Zurich Single particle imaging with large XFEL datasets
12:15 12:30 Discussion
12:30 13:30 Lunch Break
13:30 15:30 TBC TBC Session Chair
13:30 14:00 Elizabeth Shotton Diamond Light Source Industry access to large scale facilities
14:00 14:30 Vadim Cherezov University of Southern California GPCRs, Revealing Their Secrets
14:30 15:00 Michael Henning LeadXpro Industrial perspective on XFELs
15:00 15:30 Tian Geng Sosei Heptaris Industrial perspective on XFELs
15:30 15:45 Coffee Break
15:45 18:00 TBC TBC Session Chair
15:45 16:15 Thomas (TJ) Lane DESY / University of Cambridge Time-resolved SFX – pump-probe approaches
16:15 16:45 David Leys University of Manchester Time-resolved SSX & SFX – pump-probe approaches
16:45 17:30 Dave Stuart University of Oxford KEYNOTE talk: Synergies between X-rays and electrons in life science research
17:30 17:45 John Collier Central Laser Facility Closing remarks
18:00 18:15 End of the meeting


  • Dave Stuart, University of Oxford 
  • Ilme Schlichting, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research
  • Richard Neutze, University of Gothenburg
  • Keith Moffat, University of Chicago
  • Adrian Mancuso, Diamond Light Source
  • Alistair Siebert & Martin Walsh, Diamond Light Source
  • Allen M. Orville, Diamond Light Source
  • Briony Yorke, University of Leeds
  • Christopher J. Schofield, University of Oxford
  • Daniela Rupp, ETH Zurich
  • Danny D. Sahtoe, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • David Dunning, UK XFEL, ASTeC
  • David Leys, University of Manchester
  • Elizabeth Shotton, Industrial Liaison, Diamond Light Source
  • Eriko Nango, Tohuko University
  • Fernanda Duarte Gonzalez, University of Oxford
  • Jaehyun Park, PAL-XFEL
  • Jasper van Thor, Imperial College, London
  • John Collier, Central Laser Facility
  • Jon Marangos, Imperial College, London
  • Katerina Dörner, European XFEL
  • Mark Hunter, SLAC / LCLS
  • Michael Henning, leadXpro
  • Patrick Rabe, University of Oxford
  • Paul Aden, UK XFEL
  • Philip Johnson, PSI / SwissFEL
  • Radoslav Enchev, Francis Crick Institute
  • Randy J. Read, University of Cambridge
  • Ricard Bean, European XFEL
  • Thomas (TJ) Lane, DESY / Cambridge
  • Tian Geng, Sosei Heptaris
  • Tom Penfold, Newcastle University
  • Vadim Cherezov, University Southern California


The LifeScience and BioMedicine UK XFEL Meeting will be hosted at The Royal Society.

The prestigious Royal Society, funded in 1660 is a Fellowship of many of the world's most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.

The Royal Society


How to get to The Royal Society

The Royal Society is situated in an ideal, central London location overlooking the Mall and St James’s Park and close to many transport links.

6-9 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AG +44 207 451 2500

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Public transport links
Underground stations: Charing Cross and Piccadilly Circus
Bus routes: 12, 13, 15 and 453.
Coach station: Connections from Victoria coach station

Car and coach parking
The Royal Society is located within the congestion charge zone. On-street parking on Carlton House Terrace and Waterloo Place is available for up to four hours, for £3.30 - £4.40 per hour. Westminster City Council's Trafalgar Square car park is also close by.

Bicycle parking
There are cycle racks along Carlton House Terrace on either side of the Duke of York monument.

Organising Committee

  • Paul Aden, UK XFEL Project
  • Shakil Awan, University of Plymouth
  • John Collier, Central Laser Facility
  • Tian Geng, Sosei Heptares
  • Adrian Mancuso, Diamond Light Source
  • Jon Marangos, Imperial College London
  • Stefania Mazzorana, Diamond Light Source
  • Allen Orville, Diamond Light Source 
  • Jasper van Thor, Imperial College London
  • Xiaodong Zhang, Imperial College London
  • Lynn Caddick, Science and Technology Facilities Council

Contact the organiser

Should you have any question, please contact the Diamond Events Team.

Diamond Light Source

Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.

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