In Honor of Breaking Bad: A Look at Crystals at UM

One of my favorite television series ever ended Sunday night.  Breaking Bad was a show about chemistry, change, and of course, crystals.

Crystal Images from Macromolecular Crystallization and Crystallography, UM-Life Sciences Institute

Crystal Images from Macromolecular Crystallization and Crystallography, UM-Life Sciences Institute

In honor of Breaking Bad, I thought I’d highlight some of the work being done at the University of Michigan with crystals.  The Center for Structural Biology provides crystallography services for researchers at Michigan interested in studying structure analysis, homology modeling, and two types of crystallization: “robotic screening performed on a new protein or complex for which crystallization conditions are unknown” and “traditional grid screening using the hanging or sitting-drop method in a 24-well format” (Macromolecular Crystallization & Crystallography).  The Center for Structural Biology is just one of the centers that makes up the impressive Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan.

Many researchers at the Life Sciences Institute are also faculty members at the University of Michigan Medical School.  Two to highlight are:

Bing Ye, whose lab studies the developmental processes of neuronal dendrites and axons in order to learn how “polarized neurons are assembled into functional neural circuits and how defects in this process lead to human diseases”.

Patrick Hu, studying signal transduction pathways in nematodes with the hope that “discovering how the molecules work in the worms may eventually cast some light on the pathogenesis of the human cancers”.

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