Workers lifted the heart of a new structural analysis center into Homewood's Jenkins Hall last week, using a crane to swing a 1,600-pound Rigaku X-ray generator into a ground-floor window.
The Homewood Center for Macromolecular X-Ray Crystallography will allow scientists from a variety of Hopkins departments to conduct detailed analyses of the structures of proteins and nucleic acids.
"These structures can convey an enormous amount of information and will permit us to gain insight into proteins that we couldn't obtain any other way," says Joel Schildbach, assistant professor in the Krieger School's Biology Department and principal investigator of the grant funding the center.
The new center is funded by a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant and by support from the Arts and Sciences Dean's Office and the departments of Biology and Biophysics. In addition to Schildbach, nine Hopkins scientists, including six from Arts and Sciences, one from Engineering and two from Medicine, helped write the grant and will be among the primary users of the new facility.
Schildbach says the center may take its first test readings as early as this week.
Until now, he notes, Hopkins scientists who wanted to do X-ray crystallography used a shared crystallography facility on the East Baltimore campus.
That center has become very busy, Schildbach notes, and the new facility will benefit researchers on both campuses.
"Our colleagues at the Medical School have been remarkably accommodating, and now that we have a similar center here at Homewood, we're in a position, when it's needed, to be able to reciprocate," Schildbach says.