NIH Awards $6.3 Million to Illinois Tech’s BioCAT Facility for Biomedical Research

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $6.3 million to continue to operate Illinois Tech’s Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (BioCAT) facility for biomedical research at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory. This is one of the largest grants for any research at Illinois Tech.

Led by Thomas Irving, chair and professor of biology and a biophysics researcher, BioCAT is one of the foremost facilities in the world for basic, applied, or translational research using synchrotron radiation that may be relevant to medical advances. Illinois Tech’s position as operator of the facility gives university faculty and students access to one of the most powerful X-ray beam sources in the world to do basic biomedical research on non-crystalline biological materials. In addition, BioCAT serves a national and international community of scientists–including researchers from many universities across the country and around the world, as well as pharmaceutical companies such as AbbVie and Novartis.

Irving and his team have run BioCAT for 21 years. They frequently travel all over the world to talk about what they’re doing and how BioCAT facilities may be relevant for research relating to heart disease, arthritis, cancer, traumatic brain injury, as well as protein misfolding diseases such as Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

There are 17 national laboratories in the United States, all overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy, to advance the nation’s science and technology. Argonne is one of them, and Illinois Tech’s significant access to, and leadership of, the world-class BioCAT and MRCAT (Materials Research Collaborative Access Team) facilities gives university faculty and students an outstanding resource that not all universities can offer. MRCAT is run by Carlo Segre, Duchossois Leadership Professor of Physics; together, BioCAT and MRCAT are centerpieces of Illinois Tech’s Center for Synchrotron Radiation Research and Instrumentation (CSRRI).