U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Tackling Infectious Disease—One Protein at a Time

PNNL scientist part of Pacific Northwest team that has solved 1,000 protein structures
The structure of a protein named thioredoxin. Garry Buchko and colleagues used NMR to solve the structure of the protein, which is found in an infection often conveyed by ticks. Credit: SSGCID

Garry Buchko and his colleagues are at the front line battling some of the most fearsome enemies that humanity has ever known: Tuberculosis. Pneumonia. Ebola. Plague. Botulism. 

But he is not in a hospital or field tent, taking vital signs or administering medications. Instead, Buchko the biochemist is in the laboratory, where the front line is the world of proteins - the molecular workhorses that keep all organisms functioning properly and make life possible. Using some of the highest-tech approaches available, he works with scientists in the Pacific Northwest to uncover crucial information needed to develop better treatments or vaccines against a host of nasty agents that can cause body aches, nausea, fatigue, food poisoning, diarrhea, ulcers, difficulty breathing, and death.

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