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In this issue:
JCSG Celebrates Its 500th Structure
Science Today: SSRL User Wins Robin Hill Award
Cyber Security Tips

SLAC Today

Thursday - November 1, 2007

Ashley Deacon loads samples of crystallized proteins into an automated sample mounting system.

JCSG Celebrates Its 500th Structure

On October 29, the Joint Center for Structural Genomics (JCSG)—in which SLAC plays an integral role—celebrated a major milestone as it deposited its 500th unique protein structure into the Protein Data Bank (PDB). A protein's 3D structure dictates its function—including how it interacts with other proteins, how it catalyzes chemical reactions and how it might be inhibited or activated by drugs. By determining structures representative of large protein families from a wide range of genomes, the JCSG seeks to illuminate key aspects of biology, chemistry and medicine that span from neurodegenerative disease to human evolution.

The process of depositing a protein structure into the PDB begins with the Bioinformatics Core (based at the University of California San Diego and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research) selecting the targets to be investigated and the Crystallomics Core (based at The Scripps Research Institute and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation) producing soluble proteins that are then crystallized. Researchers at SLAC's Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) then use x-ray diffraction to map out the atomic structure of each crystallized protein. This Structure Determination Core (SDC) group determines the 3D structures and deposits the structural coordinates and diffraction data into the PDB, where they are freely available to the scientific community.  Read more...

(Daily Column - Science Today)

SSRL User Wins
Robin Hill Award

(Photo - Junko Yano)Dr. Junko Yano, a researcher in the Physical Biosciences Division at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, recently received the Robin Hill Award from the International Society for Photosynthesis Research. The honor is given for outstanding investigations into physical aspects of the photosynthesis process.

Recent research by Yano and collaborators have focused on structural studies of the photosystem II catalytic metal-cluster center, containing four manganese atoms and one calcium atom (Mn4Ca), that drives the reaction which splits water molecules into protons, electrons and oxygen—the cornerstone of photosynthesis. Much of this work was performed using the polarized single crystal x-ray absorption spectroscopy facility on the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory's Beamline 9-3, as published in Science and elsewhere.

SLAC Benefits Fair Today, 10:00-3:00

Today from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., the Benefits Office will hold a Benefits Fair in SLAC's Panofsky Auditorium Lobby/Breezeway. Don't miss this opportunity to talk with representatives from all our health plans, ask questions and learn what each plan offers. Free flu shots will be available to SLAC employees. More information about open enrollment is available on the Stanford Benefits website.

Cyber Security Tips

(Logo - computer security)Cyber Security Awareness Month ended yesterday, but that doesn't mean that the need to stay vigilant ended with it. Throughout the month of October, the SLAC Computer Security team shared 31 ways to increase your safety online. These articles offer simple ways to communicate safely and securely on the internet, such as only using software purchased from reputable vendors, keeping that software up to date and removing it when it's no longer in use. Following these easy steps can go along way to ensuring your computer is not compromised.

Cyber security is more and more important with each passing year; the prevalence of communication devices now in use brings with it a high level of risk. As a result, communicating safely is no longer a passive activity. Please be conscious of these risks and take active steps to ensure you do not become a victim online, especially as we head into the holiday season. We'll be getting those virus-laden e-cards soon!

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