MASSIF-1: 10,000 crystals analysed in its first year


MASSIF-1, a world leading beamline pioneering the fully automatic characterisation and data collection from protein crystals has just processed its 10,000th crystal. This milestone is remarkable as it has been achieved in just under a year of full operation of the beamline.

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MASSIF-1 is unique in that it fully characterises crystals in any sample mount with a unique scoring algorithm developed at the ESRF, this means that any sample can be screened allowing a wide variety of crystals to be sent, from the identification of initial hits to high throughput drug fragment screens.

This ground breaking instrument provides a new tool for European Structural Biologists performing the mundane operations of sample mounting and centring  through the night allowing researchers to spend more time on complex data collections and interpreting results.  In fact, the beamline often collects better data than a human operator as all positions are evaluated and data are collected in a consistent manner.

The 10,000th crystal was from the EMBL Grenoble’s HTX lab that is driving new technology in the automatic mounting of protein crystals.  This new method goes hand-in hand with the developments on MASSIF creating a potential gene to structure pipeline on the EPN Campus that would be completely automated.


MASSIF-1 is run through a collaboration between the ESRF and EMBL. Find out more about MASSIF-1 here or follow the beamline on Twitter:

Top image: Scientists working in the experimental hutch of MASSIF-1, (Image credit: ESRF/D. McBride).