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Virus secrets may soon be Crystal clear
9:30am Monday 18th February 2013 in News
THE Diamond Light Source super microscope at Harwell Oxford is being used to study serious viruses including AIDS, hepatitis and some types of flu.
The synchrotron is the first and only place in Europe where pathogens requiring high levels of containment can be analysed at atomic and molecular level using synchrotron light.
The special light created by the machine allows scientists to study virus structures at intense levels of detail, and has the potential to open new paths for the development of therapeutic treatments.
Prof Dave Stuart, life sciences director at Diamond Light Source, and professor of structural biology at Oxford University, has launched the new lab – Crystal – which will help scientists uncover the mechanisms of infection.
Prof Stuart said: “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.”
“We anticipate interest from a number of groups in the UK.
The machine, a scientific instrument more than half a kilometre in circumference, was opened by the Queen in 2007.