A team of researchers led by Prof. Thomas Irving (Illinois Institute of Technology) has received a $8.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue to operate the Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (BioCAT) facility at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory for the next 5 years. The facility provides access to the most intense X-ray beams in the Western Hemisphere for the study of non-crystalline biological materials such as muscle, connective tissue, amyloids, viruses, proteins, and other large biological molecules and their complexes, in order to understand the structural underpinnings of human maladies such as heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s. Several COVID 19 projects have been hosted since the pandemic began. The other members of the scientific staff at BioCAT who co-wrote the proposal are beamline scientists Weikang Ma, Srinivas Chakravarthy and Jesse Hopkins.

The new grant is a NIGMS P30 grant for Mature Synchrotron Resources, and allows BioCAT to focus on our core mission of providing cutting edge facilities and experimental capabilities for our users. Among other highlights, the grant will provide a new state of the art x-ray detector (Dectris EIGER 2 XE 9M), which has a larger area, smaller pixels, and faster readout than our current detector, and will greatly enhance both solution and muscle/fiber scattering experiments.