Neutron scattering provide exceptional tools for studying the dynamics and structures of protein and other biopolymers in real time at the molecular level. These motions and structures are believed to ultimately govern the biological function and activities of the biomolecules. We may ask, what is the future applications that neutron scattering can possibly provide for biophysics study? In this talk, I will discuss several possible future directions by means of some examples. For structural study, small angle neutron scattering (SANS), specifically SANS with contrast variation, definitely will be one of the most promising directions. While for sure the recent cryo-EM revolution will impact the field of structural biology, SANS has its unique advantages and will provide complementarity to the field. For the dynamics study, in addition to the broad applications of quasi-elastic neutron scattering (QENS), neutron spin echo (NSE) probes motions on longer time scales of up to ~100 ns, and holds tremendous potential for determining functionally important motions of proteins. Currently we are developing the first NSE instruments in China, at CMRR (China Mianyang Research Reactor), including a neutron resonant spin echo (NRSE) spectrometer for QENS study and a spin echo SANS (SESANS) for structural study. Finally, we will discuss briefly on quantum biology as another possible application that neutron scattering can provide in the future, to look on the roles of quantum effects in biological systems.
Dr. Xiang-qiang Chu received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Physics from Peking University in China and her Ph.D. degree in Nuclear Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2010. After two years of postdoctoral research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), she joined Department of Physics and Astronomy at Wayne State University, USA as an Assistant Professor in August 2012 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2017. Afterwards, she was awarded “1000 Young Talents Plan” of China, and joined the Graduate School of China Academy of Engineering Physics (GSCAEP) as a Professor. Her research interests focus on probing the conformation and dynamics of biomolecules, nano-materials and their hydration water or surface water through neutron and X-ray scattering techniques. She has published over 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals, such as PNAS, PRL and JPCL. She has served as an editorial board member for Scientific Reports since 2016, and has been a reviewer for many journals such as Nature Communications and JPCL. She has been a reviewer for many national facilities, such as ANSTO, ORNL, and CSNS.
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Graduate School of China Academy of Engineering Physics
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