Center for Structural Molecular Biology

An OBER funded User Facility for Neutron-based Analysis of Bio-Molecular Structures and Function at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Neutron-based analysis of biomolecular structure, dynamics and function

Neutons for Biology: Structure, Dynamics and Function

Welcome to the Center for Structural Molecular Biology

A User Facility for Neutron-based Analysis of Bio-Molecular Structures & Function

The Center for Structural Molecular Biology at ORNL is dedicated to developing instrumentation and methods for determining the 3-dimensional structures of proteins, nucleic acids (DNA/RNA) and their higher order complexes. The tools of the CSMB will help understand how these macromolecular systems are formed and how they interact with other systems in living cells. The focus of the CSMB is to bridge the information gap between cellular function and the molecular mechanisms that drive it. The suite of tools being developed by the CSMB includes:

Another computation technique developed for the study of calculates solution small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering intensity profiles by ORNL-SAS. This makes it possible to develop from a wide variety of structures, including atomicresolution models of proteins and protein complexes, low-resolution models defined in any manner, or combinations of both.

Neutron diffraction, spectroscopy and scattering are excellent tools for studying biological systems because neutrons interact differently with hydrogen and its isotope deuterium. As a result, it is possible to:

These studies use neutrons to address questions that have not - or cannot - be answered by other techniques.

SANS can be used to study biological systems under near physiological conditions, providing insight into interactions within complexes and conformational changes in response to stimuli. Through the use of specific deuterium labeling SANS makes it possible to highlight and map components within larger complexes (e.g. viruses, ribosome). The SANS instruments at ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor and Spallation Neutron Source will open new opportunities for studying conformational changes and molecular processes on biologically relevant timescales.

The CSMB welcomes interest from researchers from a wide variety of scientific disciplines including Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Computational Sciences.