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Structural Biology Center

X-Ray Crystallography

The X-ray crystallography facility at MUSC provides instrumentation and expertise to determine high-resolution structures of biological macromolecules. Such information is often critical to understand biological processes at the molecular level and is a major facet of structure-guided drug design.

Facilities - The facility is divided into three components:

a) Crystallization – We provide access to an Art-Robbins Gryphon liquid handling robot that is capable of setting up 96-well crystallization trays in just a few minutes at 200 nL drop volumes. There are two large-scale incubators and four small-scale incubators set at various incubation temperatures. The facility also contains a Desktop Minstrel crystal imaging system for viewing and recording crystallization plates, as well as two stereomicroscopes.  This equipment is located on the second floor of the Drug Discovery Building room DD222A.

b) X-ray diffraction home source  - The diffraction lab is on the 5th floor of the Basic Sciences Building room BSB 527 and contains a RU-H3RHB rotating anode generator diffraction system fitted with Osmic Blue Confocal Optics, an RAXIS-IV++ imaging plate system and an X-Stream cryostat (Rigaku-MSC).

c) Molecular graphics – Three Linux Workstations are set up for data processing, and for model building, refinement and analysis. Well-known software packages for macromolecular crystallography are installed, including HKL2000, Phenix and CCP4. Data are stored on the University SAN and a local 16TB storage array.  Molecular graphics can be found on the second floor of the Drug Discovery building room DD222B.

Synchrotron access: MUSC is a founding member of the South-East Regional Collaborative Access Team (SER-CAT)(, a consortium of universities and other institutions that operates two synchrotron beam lines at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Lab, near Chicago. Synchrotron beam lines are used to solve crystal structures by the MAD technique and to obtain the highest-resolution data for refinements. Crystals are shipped to the SER-CAT facility via courier (in dry shippers) and diffraction data are collected remotely.

For more information about the X-ray crystallography facility, please contact Shaun Olsen: e-mail or telephone 843-876-2308.

Any publication that used the resources of the X-ray crystallography facility should contain the following language in the acknowledgments section, “The X-ray crystallography facility used for this work is supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research at the Medical University of South Carolina".

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