Photo of crystals from the Mitochondrial Proteome Project

The Collaborative Crystallography Core (CCC) is part of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is located in Rooms 2211, 2268 and 2305 on the 2nd floor of the Hector F. DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Building. The crystallography core provides instrumentation for setting up crystallization experiments and imaging the results. Expertise in construct design, protein production, crystallization, data collection and grant development is available.

Our Goals:

  • Enhance research by providing access to state-of-the-art crystallomics equipment.
  • Provide training in all aspects of structure determination by diffraction techniques.
  • Facilitate access to synchrotron light sources, such as the Life Sciences Collaborative Access Team (LS-CAT) at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab.
  • Connect research groups with structural information by allowing engagement by any member of the research community at UW-Madison, regional Universities, and industrial partners.

OPEN TO ALL ACADEMIC AND INDUSTRIAL RESEARCHERS

Updated rules for the Collaborative Crystal Core during restricted operations status

Campus research core are intellectual crossroads, bringing together researchers from across campus and surrounding areas. With substantial regret, the challenges of containing SARS-CoV-2 require us to temporarily modify our highly interactive operational mode, to prevent our core from becoming a potential nexus for infection. To promote the safety of both our users and staff, we are implementing the following changes to our operating procedures.

User keycard access has been suspended as part of the campus shutdown process. Access will not be reinstated during Phase-1 operations. We are carefully considering when to reinstate limited user access to the facility. Until then, the support lab (2268) the crystal growth sutie (2211) and the office area (2305) are to be occupied by core staff only. If you have stranded assets in these areas, contact us via e-mail to facilitate thier return.

Room calendars are being implemented to help enforce social distancing. When we are ready to have users back in the lab, instrument reservations for the Mosquito and the UVEX microscope and the cold lab will require that you also reserve room 2211.

Sample and supply hygiene protocols have been implemented. Following CDC guidance for sanitizing hard surfaces, all incoming samples and supplies will be completely wetted with 70% aqueous alcohol. This will remove marks made by common lab markers. We suggest using a label maker to identify samples. For crystallization plates, we suggest using either our barcodes, or a label maker. If you are marking your incoming materials, please verify that whatever system you are using will survive being completely wet in 70% alcohol for at least five minutes, without becoming illegible or detaching from the object. In the past, we have allowed tray setup with user-supplied materials like trays and screens. Because everything will be wetted with alcohol as it enters the lab, only unopened sleeves of plates can be accepted. We continue to have a wide variety of screens and plates in stock.

No-contact sample drop-off will be required. Incoming samples for crystallization screening need to be declared on a newly created form in iLab. In addition to a mandatory attestation of sample biosafety requirements (which must be BSL-0 or BSL-1 for this Core) you will also need to provide a:

  • plain English sample name for us to use in communications with you,
  • a Uniprot ID if the sample is a protein. We also strongly encourage you to provide
  • protein sequence(s) and
  • complete sample buffer conditions.
  • Sample information will be viewable only by Crystallography Core staff and the user.

Sample drop-off requires pre-approval from the Crystallography Core, in addition to whatever administrative approvals are required for your work. You will find a marked cart for no-contact sample drop-off outside room 2268, the Core support lab. Very close to the actual drop-off time, we need a phone call from you to either 263-7430 (Bob) or 262-3408 (Craig) notifying us of your immediate intention to drop off the sample. Do not drop off sample without being assured that we are in a position to receive it. You should expect acknowledgement via phone call or e-mail after receipt.

Restricted access to instruments. Until further notice, only Core staff will operate the Mosquito and UVEX microscopes. Once your experiments are set up, they can either stay in the Core lab, where we will observe them, or they can return to your lab. Remember that inbound plates will need to be surface-treated with 70% alcohol if they need either microscopic examination, imaging, or crystal mounting. We are confident that our standard crystal plate seal will survive this process. Any ad hoc marks you have made on the plates probably will not. We will transfer collected UVEX images to the Biochem file server or your choice of cloud storage. We are investigating video interaction with users during imaging, and some instrument screen sharing and remote control may be possible.

Constraints on crystal mounting and data collection are also required. Until further notice, only Core staff will cryopreserve samples for samples we are shipping to a synchrotron facility. Video interaction, including a microscope video stream may be possible during these procedures. Sadly, joint remote data collection from room 2305 is suspended until further notice. We will find ways to work together, remotely. For experiments not under direct staff control, users wishing to participate in remote experiments will need to become trained APS users and be credentialed to independently log into beamline control computers. Access to raw frame and reduced diffraction data will be provided to users through the biochemistry file server, or your choice of cloud-based, contact-free mechanisms.

Consultation continues, remotely. We continue to be available to help with your existing or newly approved structural projects. Unfortunately, face-to-face interactions need to be suspended for now. Most of us have become quite familiar with video meetings during campus shutdown, and the Crystallography Core is commiddted to continue interacting with our clients, using all of the technological tools available to us. We have found that screen-sharing can be as effective as having everyone gathered in the same room.