Structural biology is a multidisciplinary research area, involving biophysics, biochemistry, molecular biology and bioinformatics with basic applications in biomedicine and biotechnology.
Macromolecular crystallography is a key technology in structural biology. Thanks to significant advances in the field of synchrotron light sources, expression of recombinant proteins and automation for protein crystal growth of, it is within the reach of molecular biologists.
However, access to these technologies and to large international facilities is not fully exploited by the Italian scientific community, especially in view of future, strategic European programs such as Horizon 2020 which have a specific focus on large facilities.
It is therefore of essential to implement a connection between large international facilities and the Italian scientific community, in order to increase their use by life sciences researchers. These connecting structures shall provide support to users throughout the process of structure determination (choice of the construct, protein production, crystallization, data collection and analysis).
Its aim is also to widen the user community of structural biology large facilities by training and dissemination.