Lab equipment: We are located in Laboratory-8 on the 1st floor of the ILS R&D building. We have equipped ourselves with most of the essential requirements for a structural biology lab. We have facilities for routine molecular biology, protein over-expression, protein purification, and crystallization works. We also have Linux workstations for computation work. The institute houses a biophysical characterization facility with equipment for experiments such as UV/Vis-spectroscopy, Fluorescence spectroscopy, ITC, and CD-spectroscopy. Moreover, through our recent infrastructure grant from DBT for the establishment of ‘Bhubaneswar Biophysical Characterization Facility’, an Analytical Ultracentrifuge (Beckman Coulter – Optima AUC) and an in-house X-ray diffractometer (Rigaku MicroMax 007HF with a HyPix6000 photon counting detector) along with a crystallization robot (SPTLabTech Mosquito XTal3) have become fully functional. The grant is a joint one with NISER, and their Cryo-EM (JEOL F200 cryo-TEM with a phase plate and Integrated HDAAF/STEM, with a CMOS GATAN camera) through this grant has also become functional.
X-ray diffraction and SAXS experiments: For a while, we were dependent on the facilities with friendly crystallographers elsewhere in the country for our X-ray diffraction experiments. Now we have our very own in-house XRD facility. We do in-house SAXS experiments at IMTECH Chandigarh (Dr. Ashish Ganguly’s laboratory) and CSIR-CDRI Lucknow (Dr. Ravishankar. R and Dr. J. Venkatesh Pratap’s laboratories). As for a Synchrotron source, the beamlines of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) located at Grenoble (France) are being used on a routine basis through the support of the ESRF Access Program of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) for both SAXS and XRD. Similarly, we have also used the XRD2 beamline at Elettra Synchrotron in Trieste, Italy, through the DST-funded scheme. Moreover, we are regular users of the Protein Crystallography beamline (BL-21) of Indus-2, RRCAT, Indore (the Indian synchrotron light source) as well.
Cryo-EM experiments: We have started with cryo-EM work for some of our protein complexes. Our first cryo-EM experiments were carried out at NTU, Singapore, with help from Dr. Sandip Basak’s laboratory. In the future, we hope to make use of the new facility at NISER and also any of the national facilities located elsewhere in the country. When needed, the cryo-EM facility at ESRF, Grenoble (France), will also be used.
Funding status: Our group is running without significant glitches due to substantial intramural support from the institute. Also, we have completed five extramural projects, one from CSIR and two each from SERB and DBT, which helped our laboratory’s progress in a great way. The four-year RRSFP Infrastructure grant from DBT is the latest one that got added to our list of projects.