The origins of the X-ray Crystallography Core at Mayo Clinic date back to late 2003, when James R. Thompson, Ph.D., core director, established Mayo's first fully equipped crystallography laboratory and began offering guidance and services without charge.

In 2006 and 2008, Dr. Thompson and two collaborators at the University of Minnesota received infrastructure grants from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, which enabled the creation of more automated and robust crystallization and crystallography facilities at both Mayo Clinic and the university.

Today, the X-ray Crystallography Core occupies nearly 1,000 square feet on the second floor of the Medical Sciences Building on Mayo's campus in Rochester, Minn. Users with annual contracts may access the core around the clock.

Adjacent to the core are Dr. Thompson's office; a 3-D computer computation and graphics room; and a molecular biology, biochemistry and biophysics lab, which contains the core's crystallization robotics and X-ray diffraction instruments.


Primary objectives of the core are to increase:

  • Access to and training in X-ray crystallography at Mayo Clinic
  • Investigators' ability to determine 3-D atomic structures of biological macromolecules
  • The number of structural biology studies funded in Minnesota
  • Deliverables generated, in part, by the results of X-ray crystallography

By strengthening the infrastructure available for structural biology research and protein manufacturing at Mayo Clinic, the X-ray Crystallography Core contributes to higher quality studies of molecular function and structure, enhances investigators' ability to compete for National Institutes of Health and other peer-reviewed grants, and accelerates the career development of outstanding junior investigators.