BioLab

The BioLab is an essential service unit for the HZB user platform and provides on-site sample preparation and characterisation in parallel and complementary to neutron and X-ray scattering experiments. The BioLab at Adlershof is located attached to the BESSY II experimental hall near the cargo port. It is operated by the MX-group to support external and internal users of the HZB for preparing their biological samples (safety level S1). In addition, it serves as the basis for the expression and purification of recombinant proteins suitable for crystallisation experiments. The BioLab was completely remodelled in spring 2011. It consists of three separate rooms with different functionalities.

The Wannsee branch of the BioLab is run by the Biophysics group and it is routinely used by neutron users and cooperation partners with the scientific background soft matter and biology, a community of 1/3rd of all neutron users. The BioLab offers biophysical, biochemical, and cell laboratories with a broad range of laboratory-based equipment. Specialised sample environments for neutron scattering experiments, especially complementary to neutron diffraction and reflectometry, SANS, SAXS, INS and QENS are developed. The expertise ranges from membrane biophysics and structural biology over protein dynamics to structure and function of interfaces. Significant achievements for the user support are sophisticated preparation methods for model membranes, a reliable and robust protocol for the preparation of “free floating bilayers” for neutron reflectivity, and a novel real-time (laser-neutron) pump-probe experiment to study modulation in protein dynamics by neutron scattering methods. Future developments will strengthen experiments under most physiological condition, establish in-situ sample characterisation like in-situ ATR-FTIR spectroscopy, and offer new characterisation methods like dynamic light-scattering and fluorescence microscopy.