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Diamond sheds light on basic building blocks of life
Date:2/17/2013

The UK's national synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source, is now the first and only place in Europe where pathogens requiring Containment Level 3 including serious viruses such as those responsible for AIDS, Hepatitis and some types of flu can be analysed at atomic and molecular level using synchrotron light. This special light allows scientists to study virus structures at intense levels of detail and this new facility extends that capability to many viruses that have a major global impact on human and animal health. Studying pathogens in this way has the potential to open up new paths for the development of therapeutic treatments and vaccines.

Presenting at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS 2013) in Boston on the latest virus work undertaken at Diamond, Prof Dave Stuart - Life Sciences Director at Diamond Light Source and Professor of Structural Biology at Oxford University - launches the new lab, Crystal, which will help scientists delve into the inner workings of pathogens and uncover the mechanisms of infection. Prof. Stuart comments:

"Crystal provides unique facilities in Europe for the study of serious viruses. Nowhere in the world can structures be so readily solved with the speed and efficiency that is now available at Diamond. As such, we anticipate interest from a number of groups in the UK, including the Particle Imaging Centre in Oxford, which provides a suite of contained laboratories including a crystallisation laboratory, to support the preparation of sample prior to study at Diamond. This is great news for the UK research community, as the facility will be a resource with the potential to provide new pathways for treatment."

Diamond already has a strong track record of studying viruses at lower levels of containment. In 2012, scientists determined the structure of the virus that causes hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which can cause severe central nervous system disease in children a
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Contact: Isabelle Boscaro-Clarke
isabelle.boscaro-clarke@diamond.ac.uk
0044-079-907-97916
Diamond Light Source
Source:Eurekalert  

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