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Case Western Gets $4M in Grants for Structural Bio Instrument Development

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A Case Western Reserve University researcher has received a total of $4 million in funding for the development of an instrument to be used for structural biology research.

Mark Chance, director of the Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics at CWRU, has been awarded a $2.7 million National Science Foundation grant, a match of about $1.2 million from the university, and $100,000 from the State of Ohio Board of Regents. According to CWRU, the NSF grant is the largest awarded to the university since 2009.

The funds will be used to develop a wiggler beamline for X-ray synchrotron footprinting for the new synchrotron user facility at the Case Center for Synchrotron Biosciences at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Researchers plan to use the instrument to probe protein structures as well as nucleic acid-based molecular machines on timescales from microseconds to minutes, thus revealing details of these molecular interactions with their environment, CWRU said.

"This instrumentation allows us to understand the crucial role of water and its structure, and the role it plays in both the signaling process and binding of drugs to proteins in the body," Chance, who is also the vice dean of research for the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, said in a statement. "These details will help scientists develop new materials, optimize small-molecule and biologic drugs, probe the structures of molecules within living cells and answer fundamental questions related to chemistry and biochemistry."

The grant will also fund education and outreach activities by faculty and the staff, including training high school students through to PhD-level researchers.

CRWU scientists have operated X-ray-based synchrotron facilities at Brookhaven since 2005.

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