BioCAT Newsletter, 2002 October 15

In this issue:
  1. New Procedures for Obtaining Beamtime
  2. A New Face at BioCAT
  3. New User Support Procedures
  4. New Technical Capabilities
  5. Improved User Amenities
  6. Booth at the Biophysical Society Meeting
  7. We Need Your Publications!
  8. Send us your proposals!

The DOE has mandated that all proposals for beamtime shall go through the APS. BioCAT will use the APS mechanism for submission and review of all proposals but will retain responsibility for scheduling. You are invited to look at for the APS general policies for access to the APS. As of Oct. 18, 2002, any new proposals wishing time in the first run of 2003 should use the proposal form, which will be available at this URL prior to the APS deadline of Nov. 1, 2002. We will be asking all other users to submit new proposals for the APS March 1, 2003 deadline so that everybody is in the same system. We are pleased with this development since it will take a large burden off of our staff and will ensure an equitable proposal review mechanism for all of our users, especially now that we are oversubscribed. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause during the transition period. As always, it is a good idea to talk to BioCAT staff prior to proposal submission to enhance the chances of success.


I'd like everyone to welcome our new Beamline Support Specialist, Mr. Mark Vukonich, to the facility. Mark has a B.S. from Loyola University and has considerable experience working in various biological technical capacities at U. of Chicago, Loyola, and Northwestern University. He will be responsible for experiment setup, general user support, as well as wet lab management, any animal care and other compliance issues.


To enhance the level of support to our users, we are establishing the position of a "duty operator". A duty operator will be available two shifts a day (8am - 4 pm), 4-12 pm, 6 days a week, with one shift covered on Sundays. The "duty operator" will be responsible for providing first line support, monitoring beamline performance, dealing with routine problems and assisting the experimenters with any other needs. As before, users will be assigned a "Scientific Contact" who will be responsible for ascertaining the experimental requirements before the beamtime, assuring the optimal setup of the experiment and help with issues of data quality assessment and interpretation. Support will always be available by phone or pager on the shifts not covered.


We have recently expanded our SAXS capability to enable wide angle measurements out to 20 inverse nanometers (3 A resolution) using a special purpose short flight tube. We have also implemented a new fast shutter capable of < 100 microsecond exposures with latencies of the order of 1 ms.


New partitions have been installed on the floor to provide additional user privacy, but also to provide space for data analysis computers close to the beamline control instrumentation. We have bought two new, faster data analysis computers (one running Red Hat Linux and the other Win2k) to speed up data processing. Networking has been improved to ease communications with the beamline control computers and those used for analysis. The former computer room has been converted to a user lounge with a small fridge, couch and desk space.


Please stop by at our booth at the Biophysical Society Meeting in San Antonio next March.


BioCAT users have produced more than double the number of refereed publications so far in calendar 2002 as compared to all of 2001. Keep up the good work! As we go into our competitive renewal preparation, it is essential that we know of all refereed publications and Ph.D. dissertations resulting from work at BioCAT. At this point it would be valuable for us to know of any publications at any stage of the process (in preparation, submitted, in press, out). In addition, the APS is interested in documenting ANY dissemination activity, abstracts, invited talks, awards and items in the general media. Please provide whatever you have in whatever form you can to Clareen at The health of both BioCAT and the APS facility as a whole depends on our ability to document our accomplishments and we need your help!


Please feel free to contact us to discuss your needs prior to proposal submission to the APS. Contact Tom Irving ( or Elena Kondrashkina ( to discuss any diffraction and scattering related experiments, and Raul Barrea ( or Ke Zhang ( for XAFS related experiments.


Tom Irving
Director, BioCAT