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MAXIV for high resolution, sub-cellular x-ray measurements – A special interest group

Overview of MAXIV equipment. Illustration.
MAXIV offers new techniques to unravel structural changes in biomolecules of interest to researchers in neurodegeneration.

Sweden has made significant strategic investments into the national infrastructure MAX IV, with world-unique instruments usable across disciplines. One emerging area is within medical sciences. MultiPark researchers now gather across research groups to facilitate the usage of these state-of-the-art techniques available just around the corner. MAXIV for high-resolution, sub-cellular X-ray measurements is a new special interest group (SIG) led by Oxana Klementieva. Here, she explains how she will convene the joint effort.

Can you briefly describe the research topics included in your SIG?

"We use modern visualising methods to investigate molecular mechanisms at the sub-cellular level in neurodegenerative disorders. Sweden has made significant strategic investments into national infrastructures like MAX IV, with world-unique instruments that can be used across disciplines. One emerging area is within medical sciences. Despite this potential, it is not an easy path to start using MAX IV-based techniques for many MultiPark researchers because they have not used these methods before and are not familiar with them. Hence, our special interest group wants to facilitate the usage of these state-of-the-art techniques that are just around the corner."

What are your overarching goals?

"Our main goal is to make the MAX IV facility accessible to MultiPark members. The second goal is the expansion of knowledge about the service infrastructure that already exists at MultiPark towards the use of MAXIV."

How do you plan to achieve this?

"For modern large-scale facilities supporting advanced technologies for the study of matter, such as MAX IV, it is vital to not only build these facilities but also strategically build up their competence in applying novel techniques. Obstacles linked to sample preparation, choice of the sample holder and specimen, data analysis and data interpretation within a clinically relevant context lead to general demotivation for such experiments in the long run. Informal surveys have identified some of these obstacles as the main bottlenecks for MultiPark researchers in using MAX IV. Therefore, our SIG aims to build a network with competence interfaces on how MAX IV can benefit research on neurodegeneration, sample preparation, and data interpretation to guide and support MultiPark members if they decide to use MAXIV."

What activities do you plan?

"We will focus on establishing a network to share knowledge on how MAXIV can help specific research and efficient preparation for using multiple spectromicroscopy techniques. We envisage that such networking will help MultiPark members to take advantage of the MAX IV facility. Within the group, we plan to organise tri-monthly seminars open for all members of MultiPark to discuss spectroscopic imaging of cells and tissues at MAX IV related to in vitro microglia/inflammatory screening,  protein aggregation, synapse analysis, and neurophysiological properties, early microglia and neuronal dysfunction using correlative imaging methods to combine traditional brain imaging data with MAX IV generated data,  collaborative opportunities."

How many early-career researchers (PhD students, postdocs) are affiliated with this SIG?

"13 at the moment, but we encourage MultiPark researchers at all stages of their career to reach out if they have an interest in using these techniques for their projects."

How do you think that early-career researchers can contribute to the SIG?

"Early-career researchers will have an active role in organizing bi-monthly meetings and annual seminars for MP with invited speakers from MAXIV and experienced users. Thus research advances, new methodological approaches, and collaborative ideas will be shared and fostered."