News and Publications
TSRI Scientific Report 2003
Center for Integrative Molecular Biosciences
Ronald A. Milligan, Ph.D.
The Center for Integrative Molecular Biosciences (CIMBio) was created in
2002 to foster collaborative research to elucidate the high-resolution structures,
mechanisms of action, and in vivo dynamic behaviors of the cell's molecular machines.
CIMBio's second year was notable for a number of achievements and events. First,
cutting-edge technologic developments for automating structure determination
via electron microscopy were put on a strong footing with the award of a 5-year
grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish the National Resource
for Automated Molecular Microscopy under the directorship of Bridget Carragher
and Clint Potter. In addition, Mari Manchester led a successful effort with M.G.
Finn and Jack Johnson to obtain funding from the biomolecular sensors program
of the National Cancer Institute to support high-risk, innovative research on
the development of biosensors. Collaborative, interdisciplinary activities such
as those supported by these recent awards are the lifeblood of CIMBio.
The end of 2002 saw completion of phase 2 construction, and 6 additional
research groups relocated to the new, custom-built laboratories at the beginning
of 2003. From the nucleus of investigators interested in using electron microscopic
determination of structure to understand biological mechanisms at moderate resolution,
the range of expertise at CIMBio has now expanded toward both the atomic level,
with the addition of Geoff Chang (membrane protein crystallography), and the
cellular level, with the groups of Velia Fowler, Clare Waterman-Storer, Kevin
Sullivan, and Klaus Hahn (development and applications of multimode light microscopy).
An important addition was the Carbohydrate Synthesis and Protein Expression Core,
directed by Ola Blixt with James Paulson as principal investigator, of the Consortium
for Functional Glycomics funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Peter Kuhn joined the CIMBio faculty to develop the functional proteomics
program at TSRI in collaboration with the Palo Alto Research Center Institute
for Advanced Biomedical Sciences. The researchers in his laboratory are uniquely
positioned to explore novel proteomics technologies and to transform them into
practical production systems for use in drug discovery and translational medicine.
Dr. Kuhn comes from Stanford University, where he directed the structural genomics
and macromolecular crystallography programs at Stanford's synchrotron laboratory.
In March 2003, 75 participants from 8 Institutions across the United States
with common interests in virus-based nanotechnology convened for 3 days at CIMBio
for the 6th Annual MontDiego Meeting. More than 25 presentations highlighted
research ranging from the use of plant viruses as molecular circuit boards in
the molecular electronics program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
to virus-based drug delivery supported by the National Cancer Institute.
In April, 35 participants from local academic institutions attended a 2-day
workshop on image analysis in light microscopy. The meeting was supported by
the National Eye Institute Core Grant for Vision Research. Topics covered both
basic software scripting and advanced image analysis algorithms, with particular
emphasis on multidimensional live-cell imaging and quantitation.
The National Resource for Automated Molecular Microscopy sponsored 2 workshops.
The Electron Microscopy and X-ray Crystallography Fitting and Modeling Workshop
was organized jointly with the Resource for Multiscale Modeling Tools in Structural
Biology, led by Charles Brooks, and attracted more than 40 participants. In April,
the 2-day Multidisciplinary Workshop on Automatic Particle Selection for Cryo-Electron
Microscopy had 47 participants from Europe, Australia, Japan, and the United
The enthusiasm of our faculty, staff, fellows, and students and their commitment
to our collaborative mission are evident at the standing-room-only weekly forums.
These short seminars are designed to promote communication between researchers
involved in technology development and biological applications at CIMBio. The
vitality of the center will only increase in the coming year, as additional world-class
research groups occupy the new laboratories.