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The Centre for Integrated Structural Biology

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Making advances beyond the boundaries of genomic studies requires better methods of analysing and interpreting the data such research yields. Multidisciplinary studies leading to new techniques and technologies is the way to achieve this.

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Structural biology studies the structure of macromolecules, such as proteins, and how changes in their make-up affect their function. Post-genomic structural biology attempts to gain a more in-depth understanding of the biological status and function present in raw data extracted from genomic studies. Scientists do this with a variety of methods for visualising, measuring and determining the structure of biological systems. Such techniques include neutron macromolecular crystallography, small angle scattering, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electron microscopy (EM). The 'The Centre for Integrated Structural Biology' (CISB) project had the goal of creating a new research infrastructure, a laboratory complex, to house scientists and resources from international institutes. Leaders in their respective fields, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), together with Université Joseph Fourier, the Institut de Virologie Moléculaire et Structurale (IVMS) and the French Institut de Biologie Structural (IBS), have come together to advance relevant scientific studies. The CISB has successfully created state-of-the-art facilities for integrating structural biology with innovative technology platforms that will enable processes and products supporting developments in high-throughput X-ray crystallographic data collection, high-throughput protein expression and crystallisation, electron microscopy, in vivo isotope labelling, neutron crystallography and protein sample quality control. The CISB laboratory complex, which now houses scientists from all the partner institutes, was built next to the EMBL in Grenoble. It is a unique environment that not only supports joint scientific studies, but also offers links to European scientific and industrial communities. This is achieved through training programmes, networks of excellence, provision of user facilities and multidisciplinary research collaborations. The CISB complex's platforms are continuously evolved to maintain state-of-the-art status.

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