The Cold Neurons for Biology and Technology (CNBT) partnership consists of investigators from six universities, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and the NIH committed to the development of advanced neutron scattering instruments for studies of membrane systems at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). Specifically, these instruments will be devoted to basic and applied studies of membranes and macromolecules in membranes, and to membrane-based technologies that include studies of protein complexes with relevance to bioengineering. The instruments, consisting of a fully dedicated biological advanced neutron diffractometer/reflectometer (AND/R) and a 30-meter small-angle neutron spectrometer (SANS) dedicated 10 percent to biology, will provide combined advantages and capabilities not currently available in the United States. During the first two years of the project, the AND/R, which has already been designed with the aid of a planning grant from the NSF, will be constructed and commissioned and an existing world-class SANS instrument will be optimized for membrane research. At the same time, a high-performance computer system will be put in place to support the concerted use of neutron diffraction and molecular dynamics methods in order to deduce 3-D structural information from 1- or 2-D diffraction data. Finally, new laboratory space adjacent to the neutron instrument hall will be renovated and equipped to serve the special needs of the partnership and other biological users. Concomitantly, research and technical staff will be recruited. Some early progress on the tasks of the partnership will be achieved using the existing non-optimized SANS and the existing reflecting/diffraction instruments at the NCNR during these two years. The development of the new membrane-optimized instruments will be driven by distinct experiments inspired by the research programs of the CNBT team. The expertise of the team members, drawn from departments of chemistry, physiology, cell biology, and physics, includes membrane diffraction, small angle neutron scattering, membrane molecular dynamics (MD), biosensors, and biomaterials. Linking neutron diffraction measurements to MD simulations of biomolecular structure is an important objective of the team. We foresee a future when computer simulations will allow three-dimensional detail to be inferred routinely from 1- and 2-dimensional neutron and X-ray data.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBCB (01))
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Levy, Abraham
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University of California Irvine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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