The Biological Laboratory of the ELIBIO project at ELI Beamlines was officially opened yesterday (20th of January 2021) by Robert Plaga, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Eva Zažímalová, the President of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and Michael Prouza, the Director of the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
“From left to right: Michael Prouza, Director of the Institute of Physics, Eva Zazimalova, President of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Robert Plaga, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport and Roman Hvězda, ELI Beamlines director”
The laboratory was built as a part of the ongoing ELIBIO project, a collaboration between ELI Beamlines and the Institute of Biotechnology at the BIOCEV Biomedical Centre. This project has established an interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence to explore new frontiers in light and optics and to create breakthrough science in biology, chemistry and physics. The collaboration has produced outstanding scientific results in the fields of biological structure, function and dynamics. In response to expected societal challenges in health and disease, we are proposing to expand the current ELIBIO program to study molecular processes in viral and bacterial infections. This is the subject of our planned ELIVIR project.
The current pandemic and the need for extraordinarily swift scientific response to develop new medicines and vaccines has highlighted both the risks of more viral diseases spreading in a globally connected world and the need for advanced tools to see viruses and their interactions with cells and subcellular components. ELI doesn’t have these tools yet. The ELIVIR project will establish an electron microscopy facility at ELI Beamlines to extend our abilities to see biological (and other) structures in molecular/atomic details. The combination of electron microscopy with laser-based research at ELI Beamlines will create a powerful new technology platform to address fundamental questions in health and disease. The project will help the development of efficient strategies to support medical and key governmental institutions. The new resources and knowledge could multiply the value of the original ELI investment in the Czech Republic.
Message from Sir David Stuart FRS, FMedSci, Oxford University and Diamond Light Source, UK
Message from Richard Henderson CH, FRS, FMedSci, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 2017, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK