Did you miss our UGM? Catch-up with the highlights!

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25 May, 2018

Did you miss our UGM? Catch-up with the highlights!

This year, SPT Labtech’s mosquito and dragonfly protein crystallography user group meeting was held for the first time in downtown Boston (MA, USA). Scientists from both commercial and academic backgrounds joined us for the day, including; Vertex Pharmaceuticals, MIT, the Broad Institute, Boston University, Novartis and GSK.

jpg of Troy Johnson, Art Laganowski and Paul Thaw (TTP Labtech)
From left: Troy Johnson, Art Leganowski
and SPT Labtech's Paul Thaw
jpg of Art Laganowski presenting
Guest speaker Art Laganowski

The morning sessions saw Troy Johnson (MD Anderson Cancer Center) and Brian Kloss (COMPPÅ center, New York Structural Biology Center) delving into the impact of structural and biophysical characterization in accelerating the therapeutic development cycle at a growing company and improving sample preparation methods for challenging membrane protein projects respectively. 

After an opportunity for delegates to network in the rooftop garden, Art Laganowsky (Texas A&M University) outlined some pioneering work in developing native protein mass spectrometry for sample characterisation (focusing on allostery revealed within lipid binding) and it’s potential for structural biology. Art was followed by Bhamini Vaidialingam (Agios Pharmaceuticals) whose talk “mosquito borne cures” explained how the mosquito and dragonfly were successfully applied to other biophysical applications in the group to improve sample characterisation and analysis.

jpg of a dragonfly crystal demonstrationFollowing a relaxing lunch, the early afternoon focused on practical hands-on time, with the mosquito and dragonfly crystal in action for those that don’t have one (left: SPT Labtech expert Chris Waddling demonstrating the dragonfly crystal), together with the opportunity to explore applications and provide feedback on use. A sneak preview of some new application-led mosquito software was also provided. The highlight of the afternoon was the open discussion panel session with special guests from Harvard University. This engaging session invited attendees to explore the future directions of crystallography and single particle cryoEM in terms of what challenges their developing synergy posed to crystallographers wanting to make practical use of this rapidly developing technique.

The day finished on a high as all delegates and speakers were invited to casual drinks and dinner at local restaurant ‘Committee’ in downtown Boston. Conversations from the panel session were carried on well into the evening with ideas been exchanged freely, thus ensuring all had plenty of new ideas to try out in their own labs. Following the success of this year’s event we aim to site the US, UGM next year on the West Coast, USA. If you’d be interested in coming along to these fun events contact us and we’ll keep you informed when the time comes.
jpg of dinner at Committee

UGM attendees enjoyed dinner at 'Committee' in downtown Boston