The explosion of research and understanding in biological and life sciences makes it currently one of the most vibrant areas of scientific activity, with many important and far-reaching benefits. Topics in bio-science have many similarities with the problems in soft matter, and expansion into this key research area is a major goal of the ISIS Second Target Station Project.
Areas of research such as drug creation and delivery, metabolic pathways, processing effects, pesticide activity, artificial bio-synthetic materials and virus interactions are all closely linked to an understanding of the structures of membranes, membrane-protein interactions, the structure of macromolecular complexes and bio-compatibility.
Neutron scattering can give either low-resolution information about large features, such as lipids surrounding a macromolecule, micelle structure, or high-resolution information about water solvent structure, hydrogen binding and precise active site geometry.
New opportunities for bio-science
- Pharmaceuticals, drug delivery formulations, membrane-protein interactions, bio-compatibility and functionality, food technology
- Interfaces and membranes: structural organisation of membranes and membrane-protein systems
- Macromolecular assemblies: low resolution studies on macromolecular assemblies, in systems not tractable by high resolution crystallography, viruses, glyco-proteins, protein folding, protein-nucleic acid interactions. Solvent structure. Meso-scale structure
- Pharmaceuticals: determination of new drug structures, where the role of hydrogen atoms is essential in understanding drug-receptor interactions. Molecular engineering
- Food technology: study of solvent distribution and structural changes in complex assemblies (for example starches) during processing. Protein fouling. Protein adsorption and colloidal stability. Mechanism of foam and gel formation