The project aims to create a common platform throughout Europe for researchers working in the field of "biological crystallography."
BIOXHIT stands for "Biocrystallography on a Highly Integrated Technology Platform" for European Structural Genomics. The goal is to take the best of current technologies at major European centres for research in structural biology, develop them further and weave them into a single platform that integrates and standardises the best of current technology, and spread it throughout Europe.
EMBL-Hamburg will coordinate the integrated project, which unites over twenty partners from nine European countries, including all European synchrotrons. BIOXHIT combines a strongly focused research programme with networking, training and mobility of staff under a single and efficient management structure.
Biological crystallography aims to create precise, three-dimensional "architectural" models of biological molecules. Without such models at hand, it is close to impossible to understand biological processes, for instance the way proteins and other molecules behave in cells, or to design new drugs that will affect their functions. The most common method for obtaining such three-dimensional models is to bombard crystallised proteins with high-powered X-rays generated at huge synchrotron facilities.
"We already have all the single components necessary to solve molecular structures," says Victor Lamzin, grant coordinator at EMBL-Hamburg. "We have synchrotrons, we can grow protein crystals, we have the software components and we can obtain structures. But the tools we use were not originally designed for high-throughput work. This is what is needed now because of the tens of thousands of new m
Contact: Trista Dawson
European Molecular Biology Laboratory