DTU Chemistry - DKK 255 million for the world’s most powerful protein ”microscope”

DKK 255 million for the world’s most powerful protein ”microscope”

Tuesday 30 Jan 18
by Janwium


One fiftieth the diameter of a human hair

MicroMAX will produce X-rays in a highly intense microscopic beam with a diameter equivalent to about one fiftieth the diameter of a human hair. When the beam strikes a sample, the scattered beam continues to a detector that provides information on the structure of a protein down to the atomic level.

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In the news story from The Novo Nordisk Foundation

In the news story from MAX IV

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is supporting the establishment of an ultra-modern research platform in Lund, Sweden. Researchers from DTU Chemistry, DTU Bioengineering and DTU Biosustain will gain vital knowledge from the platform.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of DKK 255 million (€34 million) to the University of Lund for constructing and operating a highly advanced platform for investigating and describing proteins.

The platform will be located at MAX IV, a Swedish national laboratory in Lund. MAX IV is a particle accelerator – a kind of microscope – producing powerful X-rays in various beamlines that enable researchers to magnify and see molecular details that would otherwise be invisible.

The Foundation’s grant will enable MAX IV to expand with a new advanced-technology X-ray beamline called MicroMAX, which is the world’s most advanced of its type.

“It is fantastic that MicroMAX will be a reality in the near future”, says Pernille Harris, Assoc. Professor at DTU Chemistry.

“One example where MicroMAX will be of particular importance is for our research in metalloproteins. Metalloprotein crystals are easily destroyed in the beam, and the opportunity to perform serial crystallography at MicroMAX is instrumental for this research field where we can obtain important structures before destroying the protein. MicroMAX will be a world leading beamline and yet another strong opportunity in the good collaboration we already have with researchers at MAX IV.”

Collaboration between Sweden and Denmark
This is made possible by an X-ray beam up to ten thousand times more powerful than at BioMAX, the first protein crystallography beamline at the MAX IV Laboratory, and 100 million times more powerful than at the old MAX-lab.

There is a longstanding collaboration on protein crystallography facilities between researchers in Sweden and Denmark starting with the protein crystallography beamlines at the old MAX-lab.

Scientists from DTU Chemistry as well as scientists from DTU Bioengineering and DTU Biosustain who are interested in protein structure and function will gain vital knowledge from MicroMAX as it enables the study of really small protein crystals, hereby bypassing the bottleneck of many research projects.

Pernille Harris represented DTU in the application for the grant. Several universities in Sweden and the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University were also part of the application. MicroMAX is expected to open for users in 2022.