about SER-CAT

   SER-CAT was formed in 1997 to provide third generation X-ray capabilities to macro-molecular crystallographers and structural biologists in the southeastern region of this country. At that time many southeastern universities became aware of the scientific opportunities in these areas and were intensively recruiting and building up their capabilities. There was also a realization that the key to success was guaranteed convenient access to a third generation light source. As SER-CAT became established, the membership quickly expanded to include researchers from the NIH Intramural Program and NASA and moved westward to include representatives from universities in Missouri and Illinois. Currently SER-CAT consists of 25 entities.  Emphasis will be placed on new structure determinations, high-resolution structural analyses, drug design, protein engineering, site-directed mutagenesis projects, and support of the genome program. SER-CAT is unique from most other APS CAT's in terms of its large diverse membership and its multiple sources of funding. SER-CAT does not have a single agency sponsor but is funded mainly through state legislative funds, agencies, and the individual universities- at the university, department, or individual research group levels. SER-CAT is operated by the University of Georgia, with Professor Bi-Cheng Wang as Director. 

    The goal of SER-CAT is to build and operate two beamlines-an Insertion Device and a Bending Magnet beamline. The schedule calls for completion of the two beamlines within a four-year period. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with the Advanced Photon Source (APS) on March 12, 1999. The start of construction has been defined as June 15, 1999- the date of the hire of the Construction Project Director, Gerold Rosenbaum. The user-based commissioning of the ID beamline began in October 2002 and the BM beamline was constructed within the four year construction period.

    The design of the SER-CAT beamlines is based upon the design of the successful SBC beamlines, designed and constructed earlier by Gerold Rosenbaum. Two other members of SER-CAT's Construction Team were also involved in building SBC's beamlines. However, the SER-CAT beamlines include a number of substantial upgrades and should be considered as a "second generation" of beamlines on a third generation source for structural biology research. To meet the needs of such a large community of users, the SER-CAT designs and future plans call for high throughput, i.e. large numbers of biological structures determined in the shortest time possible. The beamline itself has been designed for reliable and efficient use by the researchers and near term plans include adding robotic sample placement and alignment capabilities and initiation of "phone card crystallography" to enhance productivity. Many of the long-term ambitions presented in the 2002 symposium "Data Collection: Current and Future" held in conjunction with the SER-CAT  dedication ceremony on October 18, 2002 have been achieved, including the SER-CAT Virtual Beamline "a roubst and secure robotic system for remote data collection that brings SER-CAT access to home laboratory and Direct Crystallography (now termed Native SAD phasing) which allows protein structure determination directly from native, un-derivatized crystals

About the SER-CAT symposium series:


The annual SER-CAT symposium was created in 2003 to bring together SER-CAT members and users as well as others interested in synchrotron crystallographic research.  Held each spring at a SER-CAT member institution proceeding the official meeting of the SER-CAT Board, it is designed as an opportunity to exchange ideas, research methods and interesting discoveries and enable SER-CAT users to get the most productive use of our facility.  Symposia have been hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2004), St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee (2005), Georgia State University (2006), NCI/NIH (2007), Medical University of South Carolina (2008), the University of Alabama in Huntsville (2009),Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2010), North Carolina State University (2011), University of Kentucky (2012), Florida State University (2013), NIH (2014), University of Pittsburgh (2015), Emory University (2016).