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The NCXT recently co-organized a symposium to discuss the problems of dealing with 'big data' in x-ray tomography. This lively symposium brought users of the NCXT and ALS tomography facilities together with experts in a fields such as data storage and the transfer of large streams of data across computer networks such as ESNet. The outcome of the symposium was a series of action steps to help shape how massive quantities of data can be utilized and shared most securely and efficiently.

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Arizona State University alumna Carolyn Larabell received the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Life Sciences to recognize her achievements in cell biology and cellular imaging. The school presented Larabell with the award April 19 when she delivered her School of Life Sciences Distinguished Alumnus Lecture, “High resolution, 3-D views of nuclear organization and chromatin topology.”

Congratulations to Carolyn on this recognition of her many achievements.

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A paper by Eric Hanssen and colleagues was 'Editor's Choice' in the March edition of Cellular Microbiology.

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An NCXT collaboration with Professor Stavros Lomvardas resulted in paper chosen as a 'featured article' in the journal Cell. In an accompanying Cell 'paper clip' Professor Lomvardas explains the significant of this impressive work. You can listen to Stavros' interview on the Cell home page, or download an mp3 file here. You can download the paper here.

Clowney E.J., Legros M.A., Mosley C.P., Clowney F.G., Markenskoff-Papadimitriou E.C., Myllys M., Barnea G., Larabell C.A., & Lomvardas S. Nuclear aggregation of olfactory receptor genes governs their monogenic expression. Cell (2012) 151:724-37.

NCXT on Quest

30 Aug 2012
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September 30th, 2012. NCXT featured on Quest TV program.

Earlier in the year the NCXT acted as host to a film crew from KQED. Their stay resulted in the production of an outstanding video that was broadcast in the Quest TV program. The video is an excellent introduction to the research carried out at the NCXT. The video is also summarized in this article.


Economist covers NCXT

12 Feb 2012
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The NCXT Director, Carolyn Larabell, gave a talk at the AAAS annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Carolyn's talk was reported in an article entitled X-ray Specs: It is now possible to photograph the inside of cells.

ALS article

24 Jun 2008
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Another Landmark Development in Biological Microscopy at the ALS
(from ALS News Report, volume 299, June 24. 2008)

The biotech, pharmaceutical, and biofuels industries all grew out of our ability to understand and then predict how cells respond to changes in their environment. For example, the quest to make biofuel production more efficient begins with understanding how the cells that carry out fermentation deal with increasingly toxic concentrations of alcohol or butanol, taking advantage of this knowledge to guide the development of organisms with increased tolerance toward these molecules. Microscopy is a key technology in such work, in particular, high-resolution three-dimensional methods such as soft x-ray tomography. The establishment of the National Center for X-Ray Tomography (NCXT) and the construction of XM-2 firmly put the ALS on the map as a premier facility for imaging cells. Recently, the ALS became home to a completely new bio-imaging method: cryogenic, high-numerical-aperture light microscopy.

Developed by Mark Le Gros and Carolyn Larabell of the NCXT, this new microscope satisfies a long-standing need in cellular imaging. Now, for the first time, it is possible to image a whole, hydrated cell at high spatial resolution using both light and soft x rays. Correlation of the two data sets allows visualization of detailed cellular structure (x rays) together with the location of molecules tagged with a fluorescent label (light). The combination of these two pieces of knowledge is the "Holy Grail" of cell biology and answers the fundamental questions of who, what, where, and when. In other words, which molecules are interacting, and where and when do these interactions occur in the cell. This is a very exciting development in the world of cellular imaging, with the ALS being the only facility in the world with this capability. This new multimodal imaging resource has already begun to be used to address a wide range of highly topical questions, ranging from the design of new drugs to fight malaria and fungal infections to understanding where biodiesel is stored in algae. The possible applications of this new technique are virtually limitless, and it opens up a new chapter in biological research at the ALS.

The new cryo-light microscope used in this work is described in detail in the paper, "High aperture cryogenic light microscopy," authored by M.A. Le Gros, G. McDermott, M. Uchida, C.G. Knoechel, and C.A. Larabell, and published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Microscopy.


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(click on the picture to see the movie)

The sample is glass capillary coated with gold nanoparticles (single particle = 100nm). Data collected by Kristian Knoechel, Weiwei Gu and Mark Le Gros, and reconstructed by Dula Parkinson.

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Read more (NIH Record, issue June 15, 2007).


We recently took delivery of a twenty node, eighty core parallel computing cluster of Apple Xserves using Intel Xeon processors. Using Open MPI and ten gigabit Myricom interconnects, it can reconstruct tomograms and perform other computationally intense operations in minutes instead of the hours it can take on a single processor.