SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory


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  • Hirohisa A. Tanaka

    Hirohisa A. Tanaka

    Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsParticle physics and astrophysics, neutrino properties, dark matter

  • Sami Gamal-Eldin Tantawi

    Sami Gamal-Eldin Tantawi

    Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics
    On Leave from 09/01/2022 To 04/01/2023

    BioFor over a decade I have advocated for dedicated research efforts on the basic physics of room temperature high gradient structures and new initiatives for the associated RF systems. This required demanding multidisciplinary collaboration to harness limited resources. The basic elements of the research needed to be inclusive to address not only the fundamentals of accelerator structures but also the fundamentals of associated technologies such as RF manipulation and novel microwave power sources. These basic research efforts were not bundled with specific developments for an application or a general program. The emerging technologies promise a broad, transformational impact.

    With this underlying philosophy in mind, in 2006 the US High Gradient Research Collaboration for which I am the spokesman was formed. SLAC is the host of this collaboration, which comprises MIT, ANL, University of Maryland and University of Colorado, NRL and a host of SBIR companies. This led to the revitalization of this research area worldwide. The international collaborative effort grew to include KEK in Japan, INFN, Frascati in Italy, the Cockcroft Institute in the UK, and the CLIC team at CERN.

    This effort led to a new understanding of the geometrical effects affecting high gradient operations. The collaborative work led to new advances in understanding the gradient limits of photonic band gap structures. Now we have a new optimization methodology for accelerator structure geometries and ongoing research on alternate and novel materials. These efforts doubled the usable gradient in normal conducting high gradient linacs to more than 100 MV/m, thus revitalizing the spread of the technology to other applications including compact Inverse Compton Scattering gamma-ray sources for national security applications, and compact proton linacs for cancer therapy.

  • Soichi Wakatsuki

    Soichi Wakatsuki

    Professor of Photon Science and of Structural Biology

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsUbiquitin signaling: structure, function, and therapeutics
    Ubiquitin is a small protein modifier that is ubiquitously produced in the cells and takes part in the regulation of a wide range of cellular activities such as gene transcription and protein turnover. The key to the diversity of the ubiquitin roles in cells is that it is capable of interacting with other cellular proteins either as a single molecule or as different types of chains. Ubiquitin chains are produced through polymerization of ubiquitin molecules via any of their seven internal lysine residues or the N-terminal methionine residue. Covalent interaction of ubiquitin with other proteins is known as ubiquitination which is carried out through an enzymatic cascade composed of the ubiquitin-activating (E1), ubiquitin-conjugating (E2), and ubiquitin ligase (E3) enzymes. The ubiquitin signals are decoded by the ubiquitin-binding domains (UBDs). These domains often specifically recognize and non-covalently bind to the different ubiquitin species, resulting in distinct signaling outcomes.
    We apply a combination of the structural (including protein crystallography, small angle x-ray scattering, cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) etc.), biocomputational and biochemical techniques to study the ubiquitylation and deubiquitination processes, and recognition of the ubiquitin chains by the proteins harboring ubiquitin-binding domains. Current research interests including SARS-COV2 proteases and their interactions with polyubiquitin chains and ubiquitin pathways in host cell responses, with an ultimate goal of providing strategies for effective therapeutics with reduced levels of side effects.

    Protein self-assembly processes and applications.
    The Surface layers (S-layers) are crystalline protein coats surrounding microbial cells. S-layer proteins (SLPs) regulate their extracellular, self-assembly by crystallizing when exposed to an environmental trigger. We have demonstrated that the Caulobacter crescentus SLP readily crystallizes into sheets both in vivo and in vitro via a calcium-triggered multistep assembly pathway. Observing crystallization using a time course of Cryo-EM imaging has revealed a crystalline intermediate wherein N-terminal nucleation domains exhibit motional dynamics with respect to rigid lattice-forming crystallization domains. Rate enhancement of protein crystallization by a discrete nucleation domain may enable engineering of kinetically controllable self-assembling 2D macromolecular nanomaterials. In particular, this is inspiring designing robust novel platform for nano-scale protein scaffolds for structure-based drug design and nano-bioreactor design for the carbon-cycling enzyme pathway enzymes. Current research focuses on development of nano-scaffolds for high throughput in vitro assays and structure determination of small and flexible proteins and their interaction partners using Cryo-EM, and applying them to cancer and anti-viral therapeutics.

    Multiscale imaging and technology developments.
    Multimodal, multiscale imaging modalities will be developed and integrated to understand how molecular level events of key enzymes and protein network are connected to cellular and multi-cellular functions through intra-cellular organization and interactions of the key machineries in the cell. Larger scale organization of these proteins will be studied by solution X-ray scattering and Cryo-EM. Their spatio-temporal arrangements in the cell organelles, membranes, and cytosol will be further studied by X-ray fluorescence imaging and correlated with cryoEM and super-resolution optical microscopy. We apply these multiscale integrative imaging approaches to biomedical, and environmental and bioenergy research questions with Stanford, DOE national labs, and other domestic and international collaborators.

  • William Weis

    William Weis

    William M. Hume Professor in the School of Medicine, Professor of Structural Biology, of Molecular and Cellular Physiology and of Photon Science

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur laboratory studies molecular interactions that underlie the establishment and maintenance of cell and tissue structure. Our principal areas of interest are the architecture and dynamics of intercellular adhesion junctions, signaling pathways that govern cell fate determination, and determinants of cell polarity. Our overall approach is to reconstitute macromolecular assemblies with purified components in order to analyze them using biochemical, biophysical and structural methods.