The Membrane Protein Laboratory (MPL), led by Dr Andrew Quigley at Diamond, has been awarded £1.5m of Wellcome Trust funding to support their research for a further five years.
The MPL is one of Diamond’s integrated user facilities and is located within the Research Complex at Harwell. Its focus is understanding the structure of membrane proteins though delivering high quality samples to Diamond’s beamlines and microscopes. This new funding from Wellcome, a shareholder of Diamond, will enable wider sample support to further Diamond beamlines and microscopes and form a foundation for integrative membrane protein structural biology.
Membrane protein structures are of crucial importance for medicine. Structural data can inform design, optimisation and engineering of selectivity in order to improve the overall efficiency of drug discovery. Many major questions remain unresolved; these include the signal transduction mechanism of receptors, the gating mechanisms of ion channels and the molecular transport mechanism of transporters.
The MPL is now a well-established cutting edge biomedical resource centre providing support to an already significant, and still growing, number of users from UK and overseas and is part of the Research Complex’s unique facilities on the world stage that adds significant value to the UK and the international scientific communities that are studying membrane proteins. Since inception, the MPL has supported well over 200 applications from all around the word to use its facilities and has contributed to over 40 atomic resolution structures of membrane proteins.
Dr Andrew Quigley, Membrane Protein Laboratory Group Leader at Diamond, said:
The equipment and the bench space that we have here at Research Complex helps to ensure that we obtain the very best samples to use on beamlines and microscopes. The powerful collaborations we have with Diamond and the Franklin and the expertise on site will continue to drive integrative structural biology.
The close proximity between Research Complex at Harwell, the MPL and Diamond has resulted in excellent working relations and synergies. This has alleviated problems in crystal transport, sample optimisation for cryo electron microscopy and has facilitated a quick turnaround between design of an experiment and its execution.
The Rosalind Franklin Institute, also located at Harwell, will support the MPL through its Protein Production UK (PPUK) project, led by Professor Ray Owens. This includes access to the Franklin’s nanobody platform, providing nanobodies and protein tools for stabilizing membrane proteins.
The MPL is a user facility that is open to applications from laboratories anywhere in the world. Find out more about applying for time at MPL. For more information, please contact Dr Andrew Quigley: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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