Fragment-based screening is now well-established as a powerful approach to early drug ("lead") discovery.
Once your shift allocation has been confirmed by the peer-review panel, the User Office will contact you to provide good & bad dates so that the XChem staff can schedule your experiments accordingly.
After visit dates have been organised, you will need you to complete the XChem Registration Form so that your Local Contact has a record of your crystal system and experimental process.
For users travelling from abroad, or with particular crystallisation requirements, your local contact can arrange for crystallisation at Diamond, with appropriate notice (see below).
When on site for your experiment, your local contact will guide you through the processes, help you make the most of your time in the lab and do their utmost to ensure the experiment is as succesful as possible.
Please ensure you have completed your registration form in a timely manner (ideally 4-6 weeks ahead of your experiment) to ensure everything runs smoothly.
User Administration System (UAS):
User accommodation and travel:
For visitors requiring access to imagers, or for crystallisation, you will need to request access to the Research Complex at Harwell (RCAH)
Your local contact will advise if this is necessary and send you registration details.
On your FIRST Visit:
If it is your first time in the Research Complex you will need to get your card activated. To do this please remember to bring:
RCaH User Office location: G.06 in the Research Complex at Harwell (through the door and it is the office on the left before you go through the swipe door downstairs)
Open hours: Monday-Friday 9-12am, Monday-Thursdays 1-4pm Friday 1-3pm on a Friday.
For EVERY other visit:
Your local contact can directly register your repeat visits, if necessary
Most users will set-up crystal trays at home and travel with them to Diamond. If you require crystallisation on site, please discuss with your local contact.
The XChem User Form captures the details of your crystallisation, and should indicate to the local contact how suitable for an XChem expierment it will be - please be as accurate and detailed as possible, so that any issues can be dicussed well before any scheduled time.
Travelling with crystals:
If you intend to bring crystals to site please ensure that they:
Travel failures are one of the largest causes of experiment cancellation, so if you haven't travelled with your crystals before we recommend that you set up a tray and simulate the travel conditions as soon as possible;
Local contacts require plently of notice to carry out crystallisation at Diamond - crystallisation protocol transfer is not always straightforward, and some troubleshooting time is always helpful. to ensure reproduction of the crystal forms that you see in your home lab. Comple the XChem user form with as much detail as possible, and send all of the necessary reagents (protein, buffers, seeds, additives) prepared from your stocks so that they can be used straight away.
We don't have capacity to optimise crystallisation conditions or do sample preparation like buffer exchange - if these are necessary last minute steps your Local contact may be able to arrange an early visit to carry out the crystallisation yourself using the RCAH crystallisation facility.
If you are experiencing problems in acheiving a compatible crystal system we have collated some common issues on our Crystallisation Troubleshooting subpage as part of Tips, Tricks and Troubleshooting.
For crystallisation reagents:
Declare your samples according to local customs rules. We strongly recommend shipping with 15kg of dry ice to account for any customs delays.
Please fill in our shipping form which will be emailed to your local contact.
For crystyallisation plates:
There are a few cases where successful shipments of crystallisation plates have been carried out using Biocaire.
Ahead of the screen it is important that you check which compounds you would like to screen against your protein target and if you need to get in contact with academic groups to access these.
Information related to the libraries available on-site is here.
Alternatively if you want to use your own compounds/library please check here.
We have prepared some handouts and documentation on the XChem pipeline which can be downloaded from the Documentation page. It is worth having a browse at those documents prior to your visit as the pipeline involves many of steps.
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