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In this issue:
Vis Lab Brings the Red Carpet to SLAC
Science Today: A T-cell's Guide to Knowing Who's Who
SLAC Welcomes New Employees
Summer Edition of NewsLine Q Now Online
Coming Soon: SLAC Summer Institute

SLAC Today

Thursday - July 19, 2007

This snapshot from a simulation shows Cosmological Reionization as the first galaxies in the universe assemble. (Image courtesy of J. Wise and T. Abel.)

Vis Lab Brings the Red Carpet to SLAC

The movie begins with a tangled jumble of orange tentacles reaching out in all three dimensions, including straight towards the audience. As time fast-forwards through millions of years in a matter of minutes, bright, circular clumps take shape in seemingly random positions. Engrossing as it is, this 3-dimensional masterpiece of galaxy formation isn't produced in Hollywood. The simulation is calculated, rendered, and displayed right here at SLAC.

The simulation was created in the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) Computational Physics department led by SLAC and Stanford physics associate professor Tom Abel. It was recently viewed by science professors from San Mateo Community College as part of the lab's education outreach program. The program encourages instructors to invite speakers from the lab into their classrooms and take their students on similar field trips of the site. Aside from "being amazed at all the different areas of science at SLAC," as one instructor put it, the group was deeply impressed with the movies presented at the Kavli Building.

"They were oohing and ahhhing through the whole presentation," said Education Officer Susan Schultz, who organized the tour. "The 3-D movies are a great tool to spark interest in SLAC science."  Read more...

(Daily Column - Science Today)

A T-cell's Guide to Knowing Who's Who

(Image - 2C TCR)
2C TCR binding orientation with its self and foreign ligands. (Click on image for larger version.)

Adaptive immunity relies on the capacity of immune cells to distinguish between the body's own cells and foreign invaders. T-cells are the foot soldiers of the immune system, and they carry receptors that undergo an extensive "education" process for recognizing specific proteins from these invaders. Mature T-cells also show the ability to recognize proteins for which they have not been exposed to. How the T-cell receptors (TCRs) achieve this ability is poorly understood. It is this same immune response which causes T-cell mediated rejection in organ transplant patients, and solving this problem could lead to new ways of combating tissue rejection.

Now, researchers are one step closer to understanding how T-cell receptors recognize foreign proteins. Using the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory's beamline 11-1, a team from the Stanford University Medical School has determined the structure of a TCR bound to a "foreign" protein complex, and has compared this to the previously solved structure of the same TCR bound to a "self" protein complex. Unlike earlier speculation attributing the mechanism to "molecular mimicry," the current study shows that the TCR binds to foreign proteins in a completely different way than it does self proteins, despite an 80% structural similarity between the two. The work appeared in the April 6 edition of the journal Cell. To learn more about this research see the full scientific highlight.

SLAC Welcomes
New Employees

(Image - New employees)
Photo courtesy of Diana Rogers.
(Click on image for larger version.)

SLAC welcomed seven new employees last week at orientation. From left to right, they are: Primitivo Francisco, David L. Jackson, Kian-Tat Lim, Min-Huey Wang, Fidel P. Pineda, Jared Greeno, and Rodolfo S. Sison.

Summer Edition of NewsLine Q Now Online

(Image - NewsLine Q)The latest issue of NewsLine Q is available. Newsline Q is a quarterly print publication for the broad scientific and academic communities who are interested in following the progress and activities of the International Linear Collider. Published by the Global Design Effort, NewsLine Q reports on the latest advancements in ILC research and development. Access NewsLine Q online.

Coming Soon: SLAC Summer Institute

SLAC continues a 35-year-old tradition when the annual SLAC Summer Institute (SSI) begins on Monday, July 30th. This year's topic, Dark Matter, will be covered in detail by scientists from around the world during the following two weeks. The SSI program consists of three, one-hour lectures each morning and updates on the latest results from astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics experiments in the afternoon. Poster and discussion sessions, and a social program including a reception, SSI dinners, a traditional soccer game, and social hours round out the planned activities.

Though SSI begins less than two weeks from now, it is not too late to join the 259 people already signed up. For more information or to register, visit the SSI webpage.

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