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ALSNews Vol. 333 Print

A Surprising Path for Proton Transfer Without Hydrogen Bonds

proton transtferScientists working at the ALS have discovered a new route for proton movement from one molecule to another--a basic step in countless chemical and biological reactions--thereby opening new avenues for research in biology, environmental science, and green chemistry. Read more...

Contact: Musa Ahmed

New Crystal Structures Lift Fog around Protein Folding

new crystal thumbAt the ALS, researchers have deciphered the crystal structure of a critical control element within large protein-folding machines (chaperonins). In identifying the nucleotide-sensing loop and its controlling role, the researchers believe they may have opened a new avenue by which modified protein-folding activities could be engineered. Read more...

Contact:  Paul Adams
Industry @ ALS: Structural Biology Helps Drug Discovery
scan pretreatment Last year, drug discovery company Plexxikon made front-page news with its highly successful anti-cancer drug, Zelboraf, a product that was chemically optimized using data from ALS x-rays. In this month's industry spotlight, Beamline Scientist James Holton describes how the collaboration between a pharmaceutical company and a national user facility like the ALS can facilitate new discoveries. Read the article.

Ring Leader: Musa Ahmed
musa ahmedThe Chemical Dynamics Beamline 9.0.2 is one of the oldest beamlines at the ALS. Senior Beamline Scientist Musa Ahmed details the ever-evolving scientific program on the beamline--from atoms to archea--and its current capabilities in this month's feature. Read the article.

2012 ALS User Meeting: 12 Workshops, Keynote Speakers Announced
Registration is now open for this year's ALS User Meeting. A full agenda featuring updates from ALS management, DOE, and user support groups is complemented by keynote speakers that include Nate Lewis (Caltech), Monica Metzler (Illinois Science Council), and the new director of the Molecular Foundry, Omar Yaghi. There will also be 12 focused workshops, a poster session, the student poster slam and competition, and the Awards Banquet (see UEC Chair Brandy Toner's article below about changes to this year's awards, including cash prizes for the successful nominees). For more information about the 2012 ALS User Meeting and to register, go to the meeting Web page.


ALS Working with Suppliers, DOE to Alleviate Helium Shortage
heliumAs the worldwide helium shortage continues, the impact is being felt at the ALS and all national labs. Liquid helium is key to many processes at the ALS and a shortage could mean downtime for the ALS--one example being superbend magnets, which rely on liquid helium supplies on hand if they go into failure mode. For the short term, ALS-LBNL procurement is negotiating with its current suppliers and expanding the search for new suppliers who could possibly provide additional helium. The long-term solution may involve a significant investment into a helium recovery system that would allow ALS users to capture and recycle the helium that they use. Staff and users will be kept up to date on the resolution of this issue.

Contact: Steve Rossi



  • Fundamental Atomic, Molecular, Optical Physics & Combustion Dynamics: Mon. Aug. 20 - Tues. Aug 21, 2012
  • Physical Chemistry, Catalysis, & Photosynthesis: Thurs. Aug. 23 - Fri. Aug 24, 2012
  • Quantum Materials, Magnetism & Spin Dynamics: Mon. Aug. 27 - Tues. Aug 28, 2012
  • Materials & Bio-Imaging at the Nanoscale: Thurs. Aug. 30 - Fri. Aug 31, 2012

ALS User Meeting - Register Now!

October 8-10, 2012; Berkeley Lab, CA

Berkeley Lab Open House
October 13, 2012; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


UEC Corner
Brandy Toner
2012 ALS User Meeting Awards: Nominations Due September 4


The ALS User Meeting will be held October 8-10, 2012.  Please consider nominating a deserving colleague for a User Meeting Award. There are two new aspects of the awards for 2012. First, there will be a monetary prize for each award. Funds for this are currently being raised from the ALS exhibitor community. The amount is not yet finalized but will be at least $1500 per award.  Second, a policy for roll-over of unsuccessful nominations is being instituted. Nominations will remain active for three years, with nominators being allowed to update their nomination prior to each competition. There are three awards, and the forms are all available on the User Meeting Awards Web page.

David A. Shirley Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement at the ALS

David Shirley was a Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and Director of LBNL from 1980 to 1989.  He was instrumental in building the ALS.  He is now retired from the lab.

Klaus Halbach Award for Innovative Instrumentation at the ALS

Klaus Halbach was a senior staff scientist at LBNL who pioneered the development of undulators using permanent magnets, and other innovations in accelerator physics.  Even though he retired from LBNL in 1991, he remained active in lab projects and student training until his death in 2000.

Tim Renner User Services Award for Outstanding Support to the ALS User Community

Tim Renner was a beamline scientist at the ALS who died at an early age, and who during his career touched everyone that knew him with his caring attitude to others and his larger-than-life personality. This award recognizes individuals, across the ALS organization, that have made outstanding contributions to the ALS user community.

The nominating process is described here. The nomination packages are due Tuesday, September 4.  For more information about the awards, please contact the Awards Committee co-chairs, Adam Hitchcock and Yves Idzerda.

Contact: Brandy Toner

Operations Update
For the user runs from June 12 to July 15, 2012, the beam reliability [(time scheduled - time lost)/time scheduled)] was 98.6%. For this period, the mean time between failures (MTBF) was 46.6 hours, and the mean time to recovery (MTTR) was 45 minutes. There were no significant interruptions.
More detailed information on reliability is available on the ALS reliability bulletin board, which is located in the hallway between the ALS and the control room in Building 80. Questions about beam reliability should be directed to Dave Richardson ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , x4376).
Long-term and weekly operations schedules are available on the Web at Requests for special operations use of the "scrubbing" shift should be sent to Rick Bloemhard ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , x4738) by 1:00 p.m. Friday. A Web page showing the ring status in real time can be found at
In This Issue
A Surprising Path for Proton Transfer Without Hydrogen Bonds
New Crystal Structures Lift Fog around Protein Folding
Industry @ ALS: Structural Biology Helps Drug Discovery
Ring Leader: Musa Ahmed
2012 ALS User Meeting: 12 Workshops, Keynote Speakers Announced
ALS Working with Suppliers, DOE to Alleviate Helium Shortage

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