Research carried out by Professor So Iwata's team at Diamond Light Source has led to a collection of new kit solutions to screen the crystallisation conditions of various membrane proteins. These screens were exclusively commercialized by Molecular Dimensions between 2002 and 2008, via Imperial Innovations, under license from Imperial.  The screens have helped to screen the crystallization conditions of a wide range of membrane proteins, leading to many new structures. They were some of the first screens available to the research community and are now widely acknowledged as the gold standard as the starting point for membrane protein crystal growth.

Structural information of membrane proteins plays a vital role in medicine and in pharmaceutical drug discovery programs.  Membrane proteins perform a variety of functions in our body and more than 50% of commercially available drugs target these membrane proteins. This research has benefited the whole scientific community in the field of membrane protein structural biology at worldwide scale, and Molecular Dimensions benefitted financially with the exclusive commercialization of the screens. The current screens sold by Molecular Dimensions, underpinned by Imperial research, are MemStart, MemSys, MemGold, and MemPlus. These products have been sold to many industrial organisations and academic institutions across the world.

The membrane protein lab (MPL) at Diamond is a research and training facility for scientists interested in the solving the 3-dimensional structures of membrane proteins by X-ray crystallography. The project is led by Professor So Iwata of the Imperial College London and Professor Dame Louise Johnson at Diamond. The project has received funding from the Wellcome Trust, BBSRC and the European Commission.

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Hidden Gems - Imperial College News