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In this issue:
Stanford Collaboration Reveals a Case of Microscopic Teamwork
Colloquium Monday: Recent Discoveries in Human Evolution: A Tapas Approach
"Quasar" Shakes Up Art World

SLAC Today

Monday - January 28, 2008

(From left) Axel Brunger, Suzanne Pfeffer, Alondra Schweizer Burguete and Timothy Fenn solved the structure of a Rab6-tether complex (pictured), important for transport of proteins within cells.

Stanford Collaboration Reveals a Case of Microscopic Teamwork

The exchange of ideas and information among scientists is nothing new. Now, in fitting parallel, a collaboration between two Stanford labs has revealed a unique case of collaboration in the microscopic world. The results are published in the January 25 edition of the journal Cell.

The GTPase proteins are a large family of enzymes involved in a host of activities inside cells. Using X-ray diffraction at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) beamlines 11-1 and 7-1, researchers from the labs of Stanford professors Axel Brunger and Suzanne Pfeffer have found an unexpected instance of two different GTPase proteins working together. Brunger, whose primary focus is the mechanics of neurotransmission, and Pfeffer, who studies how receptors are moved around in mammalian cells, joined forces to look at how two different GTPase proteins function at the membrane surface of a cellular organelle called the Golgi complex.

Proteins are transported to specific sites within cells enclosed in packets called transport vesicles, which are moved along a specialized network of tracks called microtubules. The Golgi complex is a central sorting station in cells, and is at the center of the cell's secretion machinery. But exactly how vesicles carrying incoming proteins recognize the Golgi as their correct targets is poorly understood.  Read more...

Colloquium Monday

Recent Discoveries in Human Evolution: A Tapas Approach

Images courtesy of Human Origins at Stanford.

In this afternoon's Colloquium, Stanford Professor David DeGusta will discuss recent advances in the science of human evolution.

Professor DeGusta will review the major questions regarding human origins, the methods used to address those questions and the current leading hypotheses about the beginnings of our species. More information about the study of human origins at Stanford is available here.

The colloquium will take place at 4:15 p.m. today in Panofsky Auditorium. All are invited to attend.

Visit the SLAC Colloquium Series website...

"Quasar" Shakes Up
Art World

(Image - "Quasar")
The "Quasar" exhibit recently opened at the SCI-Arc gallery in Los Angeles.

"Quasar," a collaborative art exhibition developed in part with SLAC and the Kavli Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics, opened last Friday at the SCI-Arc Gallery in Los Angeles to the delight of throngs of art and science lovers. Over 500 people attended the exhibition that focuses on the interaction of light and sound.

"Art feeds and reflects the state of our culture's ability to absorb and bridge knowledge," said Jean Michel Crettaz, of the Slap! Creative Team.

The art gallery hosting "Quasar" is equipped with sensors that extract real-time data from attendees and from a muon counter provided by SLAC. The data is then matched with real-time data of solar activity and nuclear processes, which SLAC and NASA provided. This information then runs back into the object through layers of LED strands, recreating the space making it an interactive spatial experience.

SLAC's David Harris, one of half a dozen SLAC staff who provided interview and data support, said "Working with the SCI-Arc team has been a lot of fun. Having scientific and architectural ways of thinking butt up against each other is a confronting but really creative process."

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