... understanding life in molecular detail

The Astbury BioStructure Laboratory

  • University Investment The University of Leeds is investing £17 million in a state-of-the-art laboratory for structural biology. The new facility will provide the Centre with instruments for Electron Microscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance that are competitive with the very best in the world.
  • The Astbury Centre The University of Leeds is investing £17 million in a state-of-the-art laboratory for structural biology. The new facility will provide the Centre with instruments for Electron Microscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance that are competitive with the very best in the world.
  • The Astbury Centre The University of Leeds is investing £17 million in a state-of-the-art laboratory for structural biology. The new facility will provide the Centre with instruments for Electron Microscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance that are competitive with the very best in the world.
  • The Astbury Centre The University of Leeds is investing £17 million in a state-of-the-art laboratory for structural biology. The new facility will provide the Centre with instruments for Electron Microscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance that are competitive with the very best in the world.
  • The Astbury Centre Welcome to the website of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology. The Astbury Centre is an interdisciplinary research centre that brings together around 250 researchers from across the University to understand the molecular basis of life.
  • The Astbury Conversation The Astbury conversation will bring together leading researchers to discuss the most recent work in structural molecular biology. This unique event will comprise a Symposium, Public Engagement Event and Public Lecture by Nobel Laureate Professor Michael Levitt, FRS. Further details.
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On the 3rd of June 2015, the University of Leeds Council approved a £17m investment to establish the Astbury Biostructure Laboratory.
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/3701/university_funds_17m_structural_biology_lab

This investment, together with additional support from the Wellcome Trust, will bring state-of-the-art facilities for cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and biomolecular nuclear magnetic resonance (bioNMR) to the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology. The Astbury BioStructure Laboratory investment will also fund two new support scientists, one each for cryo-EM and bioNMR, to run the instruments and pump-prime new collaborations. We are already working hard to deliver the step change in our capabilities that this will bring.

Follow our progress via the blog or twitter buttons on the right →

Owing to the lead times for the equipment involved, the project will be delivered in two phases:

Biological electron microscopy will be transformed first, as we move to a new custom built facility in Level 5 of the Roger Stevens building, underneath the University's sustainable garden, and in the oldradio studio vacated by the School of Media and Communications some years ago. This space, with its high ceilings and sound insulation, is perfect for high end electron microscopes. We will also move all our other electron microscopes (FEI Tecnai F20 & T12, Jeol JEM-1400: all funded by previous Wellcome Trust awards) to share similar, world-class space. The facility will include biosafety containment-2 prep space with tissue culture facilities, as well as dedicated prep space for other EM users. High end computing, data storage and visualisation facilities will also be integrated into the new facility. We are already pushing ahead with architects to deliver the new space with a planned completion date of April-May 2016.

We are currently tendering for two state-of-the-art 300kV cryo-electron microscopes, each with direct electron detecting cameras, and at least one of the instruments will be fitted with an energy filter to allow zero-loss imaging on a direct electron detector. We hope to be installing the instruments from April 2016 onwards, depending on the configuration decided upon at tender.

Biological NMR is being transformed on an exceptionally rapid timeline, owing to the immediate availability of a "next-generation" 950MHz Aeon magnet from the manufacturer, Bruker. Installation is set for completion by the end of December 2015, with special high-sensitivity cryogenically-cooled probes due to arrive in mid-2016 (bringing enhanced capability for detection of low sample volumes and low-sensitivity nuclei including carbon and nitrogen). Upgrades to enhance the sensitivity and functionality of the 600MHz instrument (which will include robotic sample preparation for fully automated compound screening by NMR, and the ability to monitor phosphorus-containing biomolecules with high sensitivity), will also arrive during the course of 2016; both instruments will then join our recently upgraded (using Wellcome Trust funding) 750MHz spectrometer, establishing Leeds as truly world-leading in biological NMR infrastructure. All the spectrometers will be located in the existing NMR building on Clarendon Way, which was built with this kind of expansion in mind.

Our vision for the Laboratory is an open and collaborative one. We will update this page regularly as the project develops, and we finalise our plans to allow access to external academic and industrial partners. In the meantime, you can follow the exciting developments in the Astbury BioStructure Laboratory within the Astbury Centre at the University of Leeds on Twitter, and on our blog.

  • Sheena Radford, FRS FMedSci, Director of the Astbury Centre
  • Alex Breeze, Director of BioNMR, Astbury BioStructure Laboratory
  • Neil Ranson, Director of Cryo-EM, Astbury BioStructure Laboratory
  • https://twitter.com/Astbury_BSL
  • https://astburybiostructurelaboratory.wordpress.com

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To be announced


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