Tom Pauly and Josh Stillwell, managing partners at Crystallographic Consulting, have a rich history as synchrotron users. It is likely because of this that they’re entrusted with the protein crystallography research for about 15 cutting-edge pharmaceutical companies. They conduct most of their research at ALS Beamline 5.0.2.
Crystallographic Consulting has a varied client base that includes many of the participating research team (PRT) members at the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology (BCSB), which operates five ALS beamlines. As PRT members, companies are guaranteed a certain amount of beam time. Crystallographic Consulting also contracts beam time for another 10-12 companies. Pauly spends about 15-20 hours a week at the ALS, with most of his research supporting pharmaceutical companies working on new treatments for metabolic diseases and cancer.
Pauly spent 15 years of his career working on protein crystallography for Pfizer before he joined Crystallographic Consulting in 2011. He was one of the first ALS users while working at Pfizer. “I actually put up the first Pfizer protein crystal at a U.S. synchrotron many years ago at Brookhaven Lab,” says Pauly.
Pauly spends about 90 percent of his research time at the ALS, and says that what he enjoys the most about the facility is the excellent user support he receives from the BCSB team, which he describes as a group of highly skilled troubleshooters.
“The ALS has the best user support I’ve experienced at any U.S. synchrotron facility,” Pauly says. “I’m an experienced user, so when I have a problem it’s usually a pretty complicated problem.”
The technological improvements that BCSB continually adds to its beamlines helps users gain productivity and refine their research. “I really like the adjustable collimator that BCSB has,” Pauly says. “It allows me to adjust the beam size to my crystal size so that I don’t get a lot of background.”