Macromolecular Structure Facility (MSF)
The University of Illinois at Chicago recognized a decade ago that structural biology was a critical component of biomedical research, and that it would play an increasingly important role in the post-genomic era. With this in mind, the Research Resources Center (RRC) established the Macromolecular Structure Facility (MSF) as a state-of-the-art facility to support cutting-edge research using x-ray diffraction on single crystal samples of macromolecular targets.
The MSF is a shared campus facility supported by the Research Resources Center (RRC) and governed by members of the Center for Structural Biology (CSB). It is located in Room 1111 on the first floor of the Molecular Biology Research Building (MBRB) at 900 South Ashland Avenue on the West (Medical).
The MSF houses instrumentation to collect and analyze x-ray diffraction images from single crystal samples. Typically a protein can be crystallized under certain conditions, and flash-cooled to liquid nitrogen temperatures. When the sample is exposed to x-rays, a pattern of deflected x-rays will be generated, and that pattern is representative of the electron density of the protein, much like an atomic image of the protein. Several researchers on campus take advantage of this technique to determine an atomic representation of their protein target.