Led by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Mark Chance, PhD, director of the Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has been awarded $4 million for work with the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS II) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.

The NSF grant of $2.7 million, with a match of nearly $1.2 million from the university and a $100,000 award from the State of Ohio Board of Regents, makes it the largest NSF Major Research Instrumentation Program grant awarded in 2012 and the largest NSF grant awarded to Case Western Reserve since 2009.

“This instrumentation allows us to understand the crucial role of water and its structure, and the role it plays in both the signaling process and binding of drugs to proteins in the body,” says Chance, who also serves as the vice dean of research for the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. “These details will help scientists develop new materials, optimize small-molecule and biologic drugs, probe the structures of molecules within living cells and answer fundamental questions related to chemistry and biochemistry.”

The new instrument, a wiggler beamline for X-ray synchrotron footprinting, will probe the structures of protein and nucleic acid-based molecular machines on timescales from microseconds to minutes, and will reveal intimate details of the interactions of these molecules with their environment.