Protein Crystallography

We use X-ray crystallography to reveal the atomic details of biological systems. This provides deep insights into molecular interactions, gene regulation, enzyme mechanism, protein function and protein evolution.

The protein crystallography (PX) platform provides facilities and expertise to help you determine the three-dimensional structure of your protein starting from a purified sample.

We also have regular access to macromolecular crystallography beamlines at the Diamond Light Source for X-ray data collection.

There are three main modes of operation:

  • Trained users do their own experiments
  • Platform staff perform the work
  • A mixture of the above (which may include user training)

There is no one-size-fits-all service for protein crystallography.

If you are interested in using the platform, contact Dr David Lawson or Dr Clare Stevenson to discuss what you would like to achieve. We will offer advice on likely costs, timescales and feasibility.


We have the following equipment available for use:

  • DynaPro Titan molecular sizing instrument (Wyatt Technology) – this is used to assess the quality of a protein sample prior to crystallisation through a technique called Dynamic Light Scattering. It can also estimate the size of particles in solution, and in favourable cases can provide information on oligomeric states
  • Oryx Nano and Oryx8 crystallisation robots (Douglas Instruments) – these are used to set up and optimise crystallisation trials using the sitting drop vapour diffusion format. We have a number of commercial screens available, and can provide additional screens on request
  • Minstrel Crystallisation Imager (Rigaku) – this is an automated system that records visible and UV images of crystallisation experiments at specified timepoints.  This enables promising conditions to be readily identified and used as a starting point for optimising crystal growth

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