Researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) have received EUR 2.4 million from the Joachim Herz Stiftung (JHS) to find new approaches to fighting pathogens over a three-year period, a UKE press release said Wednesday (August 2, 2017). The project is one of seven to be carried out by bioscientists and physicists at the European XFEL DESY Campus in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld with the world’s largest X-ray laser. Prof. Dr. Martin Aepfelbacher, Dean of Research at UKE, said: “We do basic research with our projects and want to try to observe the nuclear dynamics of enzymes that play a role in antibiotic resistance. We hope to get a better idea of how to inhibit these enzymes.”
Filming with European XFEL X-ray laser
As part of another project, scientists will examine pathogens that pump proteins, for instance salmonellae, into human cells using a molecular injection needle. The 3.4 km long facility, most of which is located in underground tunnels, generated its first X-ray laser light in early May. User operation for scientific research purposes is scheduled from September. “This large laser offers us the first opportunity to watch these procedures live and in a high-resolution which may help uncover starting points for novel therapies. That would be a breakthrough,” said Aepfelbacher. The researchers have been unable to analyse structures in tiny 30-nanometre areas so far. “This interdisciplinary approach is excellent for achieving unforeseen progress in infection research,” Aepfelbacherbacher explained.
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