BioCARS

Dedicated to state-of-the-art time-resolved research in biological and physical sciences.

Micro-spectrophotometer

BioCARS micro-spectrophotometer for on-line and off-line recording of optical absorption spectra of crystals, to aid X-ray diffraction studies.

Laser Lab

BioCARS ps laser system: Spectra Physics, Ti:Sapphire Spitfire Pro 5 (780nm, 2ps, 1kHz, 5mJ/pulse) and TOPAS OP

14-ID Beamline

BioCARS 14 ID beamline provides necessary infrastructure for conducting state-of-the-art time-resolved X-ray scattering studies with 100ps time resolution, both in biology and in physical sciences.

Laue X-ray Diffraction Pattern

Laue diffraction pattern collected at 14 ID from a Scapharca Inequivalvis tetrameric hemoglobin crystal, as part of 100ps time-resolved studies.

Recent Publications

► Cho, H. S., Schotte, F., Stadnytskyi, V., DiChiara, A., Henning, R. W., and Anfinrud, P. (2018) Dynamics of Quaternary Structure Transitions in R-State Carbonmonoxyhemoglobin are Unveiled in Time-Resolved X-ray Scattering Patterns Following a Temperature Jump. J. Phys. Chem. B.
(Abstract)

► Davis, K. M., Sullivan, B. T., Palenik, M. C., Yan, L., Purohit, V., Robison, G., Kosheleva, I., Henning, R. W., Seidler, G. T., and Pushkar, Y. (2018) Rapid Evolution of the Photosystem II Electronic Structure during Water Splitting. Phys. Rev. X 8, 041014.
(Abstract)

► Holden, W. M., Hoidn, O. R., Seidler, G. T., and DiChiara, A. D. (2018) A color x-ray camera for 2–6 keV using a mass produced back illuminated complementary metal oxide semiconductor sensor. Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 093111.
(Abstract)

► Ren, Z., Ayhan, M., Bandara, S., Bowatte, K., Kumarapperuma, I., Gunawardana, S., Shin, H., Wang, C., Zeng, X., and Yang, X. (2018) Crystal-on-crystal chips for in situ serial diffraction at room temperature. Lab on a Chip.
(Abstract)

► Rimmerman, D., Leshchev, D., Hsu, D. J., Hong, J., Abraham, B., Henning, R., Kosheleva, I., and Chen, L. X. (2018) Probing Cytochrome c Folding Transitions upon Phototriggered Environmental Perturbations Using Time-Resolved X-ray Scattering. J. Phys. Chem. B 122, 5218–5224.
(Abstract)

► Rimmerman, D., Leshchev, D., J. Hsu, D., Hong, J., Abraham, B., Kosheleva, I., Henning, R., and X. Chen, L. (2018) Insulin hexamer dissociation dynamics revealed by photoinduced T -jumps and time-resolved X-ray solution scattering. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences.
(Abstract)

► Meents, A., Wiedorn, M. O., Srajer, V., Henning, R., Sarrou, I., Bergtholdt, J., Barthelmess, M., Reinke, P. Y. A., Dierksmeyer, D., Tolstikova, A., Schaible, S., Messerschmidt, M., Ogata, C. M., Kissick, D. J., Taft, M. H., Manstein, D. J., Lieske, J., Oberthuer, D., Fischetti, R. F., and Chapman, H. N.
Pink-beam serial crystallography. 
Nature Communications 8, 1281 (2017)
(Abstract)

Our Mission

BioCARS is a national user facility for synchrotron-based, dynamic studies in structural biology, located at Sector 14 of the Advanced Photon Source, at Argonne National Laboratory. BioCARS is an integral part of the multi-disciplinary Center for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS) run by the University of Chicago.

Structural biology at BioCARS is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P41 GM118217.

The mission of BioCARS is to provide state-of-the-art X-ray facility, scientific and technical expertise and support to enable users to study the dynamic properties of biological macromolecules by X-ray scattering techniques: time-resolved diffraction and solution scattering (SAXS/WAXS). In hybrid mode of the APS storage ring, BioCARS 14-ID beamline provides high polychromatic flux, with a number of photons per 100ps pulse approaching that of free electron lasers (such as the LCLS). Short X-ray pulses are synchronized with ps or ns laser pulses for conducting pump-probe experiments. Laser pulses initiate reactions in naturally photo-sensitive proteins or in other proteins that are used with a suitable caged compound. They can also be used to initiate temperature or pH jumps. The overall goal of such experiments is to understand basic biological processes in structural and dynamic terms, at the level down to atomic resolution (in case of crystallography) and on time scales from 100 picoseconds to seconds. Scientific problems addressed by BioCARS users advance the dynamic understanding of biological molecules and are fundamental to important biomedical problems, as well as of practical importance to both pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries.

BioCARS operates two Experimental Stations, embedded in a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) Facility. This BSL-3 synchrotron-based capability is unique in the United States and permits safe studies of biohazardous materials such as pathogenic human viruses.
*As of February 6, 2017, BioCARS facility is decommissioned as a BSL-3 laboratory. BioCARS is now approved for research up to the BSL-2 level.

Latest News and Highlights

High-viscosity injector-based pink-beam serial crystallography of microcrystals at a synchrotron radiation source

(May 1, 2019) Since the first successful serial crystallography (SX) experiment at a synchrotron radiation source, the popularity of this approach has continued to grow showing that third-generation synchrotrons can be viable alternatives to scarce X-ray free-electron laser sources.

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Science Careers in Search of Women Conference, Tour of BioCARS

(April 4, 2019) As in previous years, BioCARS participated again in the ANL-hosted annual Science Careers in Search of Women Conference this year (Click here for more).

Crystal-on-crystal chips for in situ serial diffraction at room temperature

(June 20, 2018) Recent developments in serial crystallography at X-ray free electron lasers (XFELs) and synchrotrons have been driven by two scientific goals in structural biology – first, static structure determination from nano or microcrystals of membrane proteins and large complexes that are difficult for conventional cryocrystallography, and second, direct observations of transient structural species in biochemical reactions at near atomic resolution.

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New BioCARS Director, Prof. Rama Ranganathan

(December 2017) Distinguished biophysicist Rama Ranganathan joined University of Chicago as a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Institute for Molecular Engineering. He is the new Director of BioCARS facility and will also lead the new Center for Physics of Evolving Systems at the University of Chicago.

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Crystal-on-Crystal Chips for In Situ Serial Diffraction at Room Temperature

June 2018

Recent developments in serial crystallography at X-ray free electron lasers (XFELs) and synchrotrons have been driven by two scientific goals in structural biology – first, static structure determination from nano or microcrystals of membrane proteins and large complexes that are difficult for conventional cryocrystallography, and second, direct observations of transient structural species in biochemical reactions at near atomic resolution. Since room-temperature diffraction experiments naturally demand a large quantity of purified protein, sample economy is critically important for all steps of serial crystallography from crystallization, crystal delivery to data collection. Here we report the development and applications of “crystal-on-crystal” devices to facilitate large-scale in situ serial diffraction experiments on protein crystals of all sizes – large, small, or microscopic. We show that the monocrystalline quartz as a substrate material prevents vapor loss during crystallization and significantly reduces background X-ray scattering. These devices can be readily adopted at XFEL and synchrotron beamlines, which enable efficient delivery of hundreds to millions of crystals to the X-ray beam, with an overall protein consumption per dataset comparable to that of cryocrystallography.

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