Dr. Yousef visits Canadian Light Source, Inc.

Over spring break, Mohammad Yousef, assistant professor of SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences physics department caught some rays. Not being one to follow convention, Yousef did not head for Florida or Cancun but rather headed to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to visit Canadian Light Source, Inc. (CLS)

CLS provides “supermicroscopes” which allow nano-scale objects to be seen with atomic resolution. Researches at CLS can visulaize tiny biological molecules from humans and pathogens using a method known as crystallography. This is acheived by first growing crystals of the desired molecule and then bombarding them with intense X-rays to produce detailed 3D images.

“We use X rays because in order to observe any object the wavelength must be comparable to or smaller than the object,” explained Yousef.

These models are then used to better understand how the subjects behave. For example, by knowing the shape of a virus it can better be understood how the virus attaches to cells and how to engineer nano-machines to fight these viruses.

During his stay, Yosef discussed techniques for crystallography and started negotiations to allow SIUE researchers access to the Canadian Light Source facility.

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