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Recent Science Highlights

How Antidepressants Block Serotonin Transport

Malfunctions in the complex protein "machinery" of serotonin transport can result in depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, aggression, anxiety, and Parkinson's disease. Now, researchers have obtained x-ray crystallographic structures of the difficult-to-crystallize human serotonin transporter bound to two commonly prescribed antidepressant drug molecules.

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New Insights into Oxygen’s Role in Lithium Battery Capacity

Researchers working at the ALS have recently made new discoveries in understanding the nature of charge storage in lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, opening up possibilities for new battery designs with significantly improved capacity. Looking at a popular Li-rich cathode material, the researchers used soft x-ray techniques to quantifiably explain oxygen’s role in Li-ion charge capacity.

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Getting to the Root of Grapevine Hydraulics

In grapevines, "root pressure" was assumed to play a role in recovering from embolisms (blockages) in a plant's water-transport systems during drought conditions. To clarify this, researchers used ALS Beamline 8.3.2 to obtain 3D microtomographic images of grapevine stem segments detached from roots and leaves.

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Mapping the Topology of the Human Genome

To determine how a gene will function, we need to know the spatial arrangement of the genome in the nucleus. Researchers have made a significant advance in determining this 3D organization by combining modeling and probabilistic calculations with minimally perturbing imaging techniques.

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Quantitative Microstructural Imaging by Scanning Laue X-ray Micro- and Nanodiffraction

Synchrotron Laue x-ray microdiffraction turns 20 this year. The June 2016 issue of MRS Bulletin is dedicated to synchrotron radiation research in materials science and features a review article on the current capabilities, latest technical developments, and emerging applications of Laue x-ray micro- and nanodiffraction co-authored by ALS beamline scientist Nobumichi Tamura. The cover image shows a Laue x-ray microdiffraction pattern from a sea urchin tooth taken on Beamline 12.3.2.

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