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In this issue:
Physicists Size Up the 'Unitarity Triangle'
Dorfan Today: LUSI
Summer of Science Public Lectures Offered

SLAC Today

Monday - July 3, 2006

Crystal structure of an enzyme that coaxes a chemical reaction to generate a large family of medically valuable compounds.(Click on image for larger version.)

How Nature Makes Medicine

After years of wondering how organisms managed to create self-medications, such as anti-fungal agents, chemists have discovered the surprisingly simple secret by shining x-ray light on the problem. MIT and Harvard researchers used crystallography beam lines at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley for their research.

They discovered the physical structure for an enzyme that coaxes a reaction out of stubborn chemical concoctions to generate a large family of medically valuable compounds called halogenated natural products. The products include antibiotics, anti-tumor agents and fungicides, and they are challenging to make in a laboratory. The secret is simply a matter of the size of one of the enzyme’s parts.

(Director's Column - Dorfan Today)

Summer Students

My family and I wish you and your family a happy and restful 4th of July celebration.

The Summer Solstice passed just a few weeks ago, and with it came waves of new faces at SLAC: the summer students. About 130 young people will join the lab this summer, doing everything from helping to organize the Stanford Summer Institute to working on photovoltaic electrochemical cells at SSRL.

The majority of these students—about 100 in all—are hired through SLAC's employment office to work a full 40-hour week. They apply for specific positions in the spring and spend their summers working in departments across the full spectrum of the laboratory.

Three other programs also bring summer students to SLAC: the Youth Opportunity Program (YOP), the Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science program (known as GEM) and the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI).

Partially funded by the Affirmative Action Office, YOP offers an opportunity for students from disadvantaged families to work at SLAC for the summer while providing supplementary income. The 10-week program seeks to give entry-level exposure to a scientific work environment while allowing participants the opportunity to enhance their job skills.   Read more...

The Bird has Flown

The great horned owlet that fell from End Station B in April and was released at SLAC Saturday night. Click image for larger version. See more photos here.

The great horned owlet that fell to the ground from End Station B in April was successfully released into the wild Saturday night from SLAC grounds. (See original SLAC Today story here.) The chick was part of a brood that nested on a high ledge in February. The owlet was not injured, but could not return to the nest. Normally the parents would fly down and feed a dislocated nestling, but timing coincided with demolition of the Final Focus Test Beam facility and the scaled-up industrial activity blocked the owlet from finding suitable shelter out of the nest.

Wildlife Rescue took the owlet on April 16, where it spent two months in rehab with two adult males acting as surrogate parents. In early June it was moved to a larger cage until it demonstrated that it could catch wild mice.


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