Neutrons in Structural Biology

Neutrons in Biology

The unique potential of neutron scattering in structural biology arises from the strong interaction of neutrons with hydrogen (H) and its deuterium (D) isotope. This property makes the information available from neutron scattering unique and a valuable complement to data obtained from other structural techniques. Individual hydrogen/deuterium atoms are visualized in neutron density maps from crystallographic data at the resolution typical of most protein structures (2.0 – 2.5 Å). Using H/D exchange and contrast variation, proteins and nucleic acids are sequentially modeled and mapped in large biological complexes using small-angle neutron scattering, protein/membrane interactions are revealed using reflectometry and protein and water dynamics are measured by spectroscopic methods.

Neutron Scattering Applications in Structural Biology Workshop

I organize the Neutron Scattering Applications In Structural Biology Workshop annually at the Spallation Neutron Source and the Joint Institute for Neutron Scattering Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. The workshop includes a symposium, lectures, tutorials and tours of the High Flux Isotope Reactor and Spallation Neutron Source, the world?s leading neutron research facilities. The workshop is designed for graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty with knowledge of protein function and structure but no or limited experience with neutron science. The number of participants is limited to 15 to ensure a low student-to-teacher ratio.  Subjects include:

  • Crystallography
  • Small-angle scattering
  • Reflectometry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Imaging
  • Labeling techniques

The workshop consists of an intensive week of teaching on neutron scattering techniques. It is specifically designed to educate graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty in structural biology wishing to extend their knowledge and expertise to the use of neutron scattering techniques. While graduate courses on neutron scattering are offered by some universities and a number of summer schools organized by national neutron facilities, this course is unique in specifically targeting structural biologists.

Purpose and Scope

  • Educate participants in neutron scattering techniques, instrumentation, data collection, analysis and interpretation with classes taught by neutron scattering experts.
  • Expose participants to cutting-edge research in structural biology with seminars given by academic scientists who integrate neutron scattering into their research programs.
  • Promote collaboration building between students and neutron scientists.
  • Teach participants to write effective proposals that win beam time at neutron facilities where access is competitive.

For more information visit the 2019 workshop pages.

Workshop series history

Over the 2010-2018 period, 154 participants, 37% of whom are women, from 60 institutions (including 3 international institutions) attended the course. For many of these participants, it was a first experience with neutron scattering applications in structural biology. In addition to providing a theoretical and experimental introduction to neutron scattering applications, participants have multiple opportunities to meet and discuss their research interests with experts in the field of neutron scattering and to initiate collaborative projects. The lively discussions that take place during the course and the feedback provided by the students suggest that the course is fulfilling its goals.

Past Participants

2020 – Virtual Participants













2019 participants













2018 participants: Back row, left to right: Dr. Don Ronning (U. Toledo), Dr. Raquel Lieberman (Georgia tech), Matthew Begley, Emily Armbruster, Ashley Campbell, Xu Zhen, Jamaine Davis, Ashton Hunter, Jacob Hogg, Ahmad Yahya, Gabriela Schroder, Viswanathan Gurumoorthy, Samuel Solomon, Eduardo Estrada. Front row, left to right: Dr. Laura Stingaciu (ORNL), Dr. Rana Ashkar, Victoria Drago, Zhixia Li, Daniel Murray, Yankin Zhai, Dr. Flora Meilleur (NCU & ORNL), Sharique Khan, Roderico Acevedo, Thiruselvam Viswanathan, Dr. Jonathan Nickels (U. Cincinatti), Dr. Dean Myles (ORNL), Timothy Stachowski.







2017 participants: Back row, left to right: Dr. Xiaolin Cheng (Ohio State University), Dr. Leighton Coates (ORNL), Dr. Joe Ng (University of Alabama), Dr. Antonella Amore, Justin Kurian, Nate Brady, Gopal Dahal, Ivan Marzano. Middle row, left to right: Dr. Flora Meilleur (NCSU/ORNL), Dr. Noriko Inoguchi, Sarah Lucas, Carrie Lomelino, Dr. Gabriel Fuente Gomez, Prashasti Kumar, James Hutchinson, Shantanu Shukla. Front row, left to right: Dr. Brinda Selvaraj, Dr. Zimei Bu (City College of New York), Seda Kocaman, Aparna Annamraju, Wade Fuerste, Milka Doktorova.







2016 participants: Back row, left to right: Adams Abdulrazaq, Dr. Dwight Nissley (Frederick National Laboratory), Haden Scott, Dr. Andy Stephen (Frederick National Laboratory), Dr. M. Segad Meehdi, Dr. Gabriel Cook, James Campbell, Snehasish Basu, James Hall, Dr. Laura Stingaciu, Dr. Luis Palacio, Dr. Dean Myles (ORNL), Jahaun Azadmanesh. Front row, left to right: Zumra Peksaglam, Avni Bhatt, Valeri Garcia-Negron, Amy Whitaker, Gabriela Schroder, Sarah Gurung, Madison Davidson, Debsindhu Bhowmik, Dr. Arvind Ramanathan (ORNL), Dr. Flora Meilleur (NCSU/ORNL), Suchi Pereira, Dr. Carla Mattos (Northeastern University).







2015 participants Back row, left to right: Dr. Jonathan Nickels (ORNL), Annette Bodenheimer, Dr. Carla Mattos (NEU), Stephen Keable, Nikolette Lucas, Yu Jeong Na, Dr. Gloria Borgstahl (U. Nebraska), Titiania Miti. Middle row, Left to right: Dr. Flora Meilleur (NCSU/ORNL), Emily Armbruster, Leiah Carey, Stephen Crooke, Dr. Jerry Parks (ORNL), Dr. Richard Kriwacky (St Jude Children Hospital), Dr. Dean Myles (ORNL). Front row, left to right: Rosemary Le, Logan Williams, Ashton Brock, Elise Blankenship, Steven Dajnowicz, Vrikram Pillai.







2014 participants Back row, left to right: Ryan Knihtila, Dr. Greg Buhrman, Matthew Coco, Matthew Tucker, Joseph Pennington, Michael Banco, Dr. Gregg Crichlow. Third row, left to right: Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva (UAB), Dr. Jerry Chipuk (Icahn), Thibauld Renaud,Dr. Matthew Thompson. Second row, left to right: Dr. Carla Mattos (NEU), Alexis Williams, Rachel Dunlap, Annette Bodenheimer, Li-Wei Hung, Anthony Banks, Robert Grinshpon. Front row, left to right: Sophia Yang, Dr. Flora Meilleur (NCSU/ORNL), Irene Ogutu,Jiusheng Lin, Francisco Jimenez, Jaime Jensen, Mohammad Almishwat, Dr. Kyle Brown.







2013 participants Back row, left to right: Todd taylor, Dr. Steven Damo, Pelagie Favi, Dr. Kevin Weiss (ORNL), Robert Fick, Budimir Zdravkovic, Ava Ianni (ORNL). Middle row, left to right: Dr. Raquel Hernandez (NCSU), Dr. Alice Vrielink (U. Western Australia), Kenneth McGuiness, Ewa Bienkiewicz, Peter Randolf, Christopher Jones, Yongqi Huang, Virginia Smith, Dr. M.G. Finn, Martin Tsui. Front row, left to right: Dr. Flora Meilleur (NCSU/ORNL), Dr. Dennis Brown (NCSU), Drew Menke, Dr. Dorothee Liebschner, Noriko Inogushi, Dr. Zimei Bu (City College of New York), Radhika Malik.





2012 participants: Back row, left to right: Xiaoning Zhang, Paul Drabza, Dr. Christopher Colbert, Dan Green, Daniel Putman, Matthew Bronstad, Dr. Dean Myles (ORNL), Dr. Don Blumenthal (U. Utah), Dr. Kevin Weiss (ORNL), Dr. Christopher Stanley (ORNL). Middle row, left to right: Dr. Flora Meilleur (NCSU/ORNL), Dr. Nikolina Sekulic, Dr. Stephen White (UC-Davis), DR. John Katsaras (ORNL), Wm Brad O’Dell. Front row, left to right: Cathy Fore (ORAU), Young Jin Cho, Dr. Debasish Chattopadhyay, Nayomi Plaza, Xun Lu, Annette Bodenheimer, Karolina Tkaczuk, Dr. S. Zoe Fisher (LANL).



2011 participants: Back row, left to right:Wade Brocherds, Ikeda Shinya, Chunfu Xu, Manavalan Gajapathy, Dr. Robert McKenna (University of Florida), Chris Weinacht, Mary Catherine Mays, Branson Maynard, Anvar Samadzoda. Front row, left to right: Dr. Walter Chazin (Vanderbilt University), Jonathan Reyles, Yao Xu, Cui Ye, William Wan, Letitia Olson, Katherine Jenkins, Dr. Flora Meilleur (NCSU/ONL), Dr. Zimei Bu (City College of New York).



2010 participants: Back row, left to right: Xiaochao Chen, Navneet Dogra, Edward Pryor, Louis Lazar, Derek Nichols, Joseph Kononchik, Linlianf Yu, Chris Brozey. Front row, left to right: Dr. Arlene Garrison (ORAU), Steffen Lindert, Maria Sanchez Farran, Andrea Naranjo, Tian Li, Genevieve Holzapfel, Ronny Hughes, Christina Tang, Dr. Dean Myles (ORNL).