Brookhaven Lab expects $30 million to support life sciences

Upton, NY The Biology Department at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory recently announced that it expects to receive more than $30 million over the next five years, which will renew financing to support structural biological research, including studies of disease and genomics.

The funding, administered by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within DOE's Office of Science and by the National Center for Research Resources within the National Institutes of Health, will support a group of six work stations, called "beam lines," at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) facility at Brookhaven. The NSLS produces x-ray and ultraviolet light used by scientists in the physical, chemical, and life sciences to probe the structure of many materials, including proteins and other biological molecules.

"The large size of the grant is a tribute to the strong infrastructure within the NSLS and Brookhaven Lab," said Robert Sweet, a structural biologist in the Biology Department at Brookhaven and spokesperson for the research group that maintains the beam lines. "It also reflects how valuable we are to a large number of powerful Northeastern U.S. research groups that use our facility."

For example, researcher Roderick MacKinnon of The Rockefeller University recently received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research, performed in part at the NSLS, on how nerve signals are propagated through the body.

"We're very proud of our ability to identify and support Nobel-quality projects like MacKinnon's work," Sweet said. "These funds will allow other important projects to move forward."

A research group from Yale University has used NSLS light to study the structure of ribosomes cellular "machines" that assemble the proteins cells need to function. Also, scientists from Harvard University determined the structure of a type of tiny opening on the surface o

Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

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