Extreme and Ultrafast X-ray science

X-ray lasers are creating new capabilities in understanding the structure of biological systems, complex materials and matter under extreme conditions. Extremely intense coherent X-ray pulses can be exploited to create and probe extreme states of matter, and also hold promise for structural determination of single macromolecules. I am involved in an inter-disciplinary research at the FLASH free-electron laser in Hamburg and the LCLS Linac Coherent Light Source in Stanford. We use the extremely short X-ray pulses to flash-image living cells, viruses, protein nanocrystals, and will ultimately investigate single protein macromolecules. All the samples exposed to these brilliant sources turn rapidly into plasma, offering us tantalizing possiblities to study fundamental physics problems in the high-energy density regime.

Protein structure from an X-ray laser

Science Magazine has listed the Breakthough of the Year 2012 and the winner is the Higgs Boson. Among the runner-ups is the First Protein Structure with an X-ray Laser.

It is amazing to see the X-ray Laser into the spotlight. Earlier in 2012, Science has published our article on “High Resolution Protein Structure Determination by Serial Femtosecond Crystallography”, which showed the determination of the protein structure from micron-sized lysozyme crystals to high resolution, before the samples were completely vaporized. Using the same method we have recently reported the first determination of the structure of an enzyme specific for the survival of the parasite that causes African sleeping sickness, Trypanosoma brucei (Science 339, 2013, pp 227).

You can read the Swedish press releases from Uppsala University, about the “Röntgenlaser avslöjar proteinernas värld i 3D” and “Röntgenlaser användbar i kampen mot sömnsjuka”.

It is also exciting to see the Higgs boson taking the first spot – it has been ten years since I have discussed different production channels and discovering possibilities for Higgs at hadron coliders (Physical Review Letters 89, 2002, 081801 and Physical Review D67, 2003, 011301).

Curriculum Vitae

Present position(s)

  • Researcher in X-ray Photon Science
    at the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala Univ.
  • Visiting researcher in Molecular Biophysics
    at the Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala Univ.

Academic degrees

  • June 2009: Docent in Physics with specialisation in Biophysics
    (Uppsala University)
    Public lecture: Scattering theory --€“ from the structure of proton to protein structure
  • Dec. 2002: PhD in Physics with specialisation in Elementary Particle Physics
    (Uppsala University)
    Thesis: The colour of gluon interactions --€“ Studies of Quantum Chromodynamics in soft and hard processes
  • June 1998: Master Diploma in Quantum Field Theory
    (University of Craiova)
    Thesis: Quantization of spin 5/2 systems
  • July 1997: License Degree in Theoretical Physics
    (University of Craiova)
    Thesis: First Order Systems. Abelian Case

Previous positions

  • 2012-2013: Researcher in Molecular Biophysics
    at the Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala Univ.
  • 2007-2011: Assistant Professor in Molecular Biophysics
    at the Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala Univ.
  • 2005-2006: Research Fellow
    funded by TUIXS (Tabletop Ultra Intense XUV Sources) FP6-NEST-Adventure
  • 2003-2004: Postdoc in Molecular Biophysics
    at the Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala Univ.
  • 1998-2002: Graduate student and teaching assistant
    at the Dept. of Radiation Sciences, Uppsala Univ.
Last modified: 2021-06-08