Beautiful Science

These crystals could pave the way for more effective medicine and better healthcare. The images of protein crystals were taken using a light microscope, which uses light and a system of lenses to magnify the tiny samples - measuring only about 5mm -
PHOTO: NTU

These crystals could pave the way for more effective medicine and better healthcare. The images of protein crystals were taken using a light microscope, which uses light and a system of lenses to magnify the tiny samples - measuring only about 5mm - by up to 40 times. Proteins can be crystallised when the solution they are dissolved in becomes concentrated. By studying proteins at a molecular level, scientists are able to zoom in on sites where specific drugs can bind. This is known as structural biology, which helps researchers understand how certain diseases work at the most basic level, so drugs and vaccines can be developed to fight them. A new $30 million institute at the Nanyang Technological University will focus on this area of science, when it is ready in the first quarter of next year. The Institute of Structural Biology aims to advance Singapore's research in the life sciences, with a focus on developing new medical treatments and ramping up drug discovery efforts. It will be helmed by Professor Daniela Rhodes, an international expert in structural biology.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2015, with the headline 'Beautiful Science'. Print Edition | Subscribe