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Sketches of Laboratories

University of Auckland

New Zealand

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Massey University - May 1996

Following post-doctoral fellowships with Prof. Dorothy Hodgkin, Sylvia Rumball (1967) and Ted Baker (1970) joined the staff at Massey University to initiate a program in protein structure determination. In 1974 Ted Baker determined the structure of actinidin, the first protein structure to be determined in the Southern Hemisphere. In 1977, Sylvia and Ted published the first crystallographic characterisation of lactoferrin. Bryan Anderson joined the staff in 1977. It was not until 1982 that an independent X-ray crystallography laboratory was set up with the purchase of an Enraf-Nonius CAD4 diffractometer, for both small molecule structures (Joyce Waters) and protein structures (Ted Baker). In 1986, analysis of electron density maps was revolutionised by the arrival of an Evans and Sutherland graphics work station.

The next major event was the arrival in 1992 of the Rigaku RAxis IIC image-plate system and Rigaku RU200 rotating anode X-ray generator, which revolutionised X-ray data collection for protein molecules. Computing and graphics facilities now include 7 Silicon Graphics work stations. In 1996, low temperature capability was added to the macromolecular-structure facility. Gill Norris, who had been a research officer since 1983, joined the academic staff in 1993 and in 1994 Geoff Jameson, a former student of Ward Robinson's, joined the Structural Biology Group, after 12 years at Georgetown University. Over the years, Heather Baker has been a key figure in the art of protein crystallisation in the Structural Biology Group. Early in 1996, this group comprised 29 people, including graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research officers and technician, and numerous sabbatical visitors. Tony Burrell, who joined the Department of Chemistry in 1994, has assumed responsibility for the small-molecule operations, on the departure of Joyce Waters in 1995. Geoff Jameson retains an interest in pathological (especially twinned) small-molecule structures.

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Please feel free to send any queries, comments or suggestions to: bws@crystal.uwa.edu.au