This core is based at the Advanced Photon Source of Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), and is headed by Thomas Irving, PhD, of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Irving directs the Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (BioCAT), which has a mission to develop and operate state-of-the-art facilities at the Advanced Photon Source for the study of the structure and dynamics of biological systems under non-crystalline conditions similar to their functional states in living cells.
BioCAT is organized as a NIH biotechnology research resource, with responsibilities to perform the core, collaborative and service research, as well as the dissemination and training required of such resources. A new area of emphasis is to exploit new scientific opportunities in micro-emission and micro-XAS spectroscopic mapping (also known as x-ray florescence microscopy or XFM) of biological tissues. When excited by high-energy x-rays, any metal atoms present metals will fluoresce. The spectrum of x-rays emitted from the metal depends on both the metal and its chemical environment. By illuminating a sample with tightly-focused x-rays, the content, distribution and oxidation state of the metals present in the sample can be determined.