iXpressGenes to host national conference in Huntsville

Huntsville, Ala. — HudsonAlpha associate company iXpressGenes will host the Frontiers in Structural Biology of Membrane Protein & Pittsburgh Diffraction conference March 10-12, 2016 at the Westin hotel in Huntsville, Ala.

The meeting will bring together scientists from across the country who are leaders in the field of structural biology, a branch of molecular biology concerned with the 3-D structure of a molecule and its function.

“What we’re trying to do is understand the relationship between the 3-D shape of a molecule and the biological role that it plays in our bodies,” said Joe Ng, PhD; president of iXpressGenes. “So we ask questions like, what are the atomic features that enable proteins to be stable and functional under physiological conditions?”

Researchers from the “Rocket City” will also present at the conference including HudsonAlpha’s Liz Worthey, PhD and Jeremy Prokop, PhD. Prokop will discuss his current research with transmembrane proteins in the Jacob lab.

“Transmembrane proteins are one of the most difficult proteins in the genome to characterize,” said Prokop, “but the growth of computational tools and genomic sequencing have provided a new age of discovery for this class of proteins.”

The conference is a collaboration between iXpressGenes, the membrane protein community and the Pittsburgh Diffraction Society, a nonprofit organization founded in 1943 that promotes fundamental and applied diffraction and crystallographic research. Crystallography uses X-ray or neutron radiation to determine the 3-D structures of macromolecules such as proteins, DNA and RNA.

Marc Pusey, PhD; a senior scientist at iXpressGenes, will discuss his recent crystallographic research.

“I use advanced computing capabilities to analyze data with the goal of generating more efficient crystal screening methods,” said Pusey. “Hopefully, those screening methods will lead to better therapies.”

iXpressGenes is looking forward to hosting the conference and bringing the biology science community to Huntsville.

“There are many people outside of Alabama who don’t know about all of the great things that Huntsville and HudsonAlpha are doing and we want to grab the attention of the biology science community and show them that we are doing exceptional work here,” said Ng. “Similarly, there are many people in our community who don’t have the opportunity to meet renowned scientists in the life sciences outside of Huntsville, particularly students and young investigators. We are making great efforts to provide a friendly and intellectually stimulating venue that can be accessible and affordable for everyone.”

HudsonAlpha has a mission of educating the future biotech workforce and Ng said this conference aligns with that mission. With support from the National Institutes of Health, the Pittsburgh Society and sponsorships from various biotech companies, individuals can register for a discounted price of $99 until Feb. 12, after which regular registration rates will apply. For questions about registration and discounted rates, contact Joe Ng at To register, visit


About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological challenges. Founded in 2008, its mission is four-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; bringing genomic medicine into clinical care; fostering life sciences entrepreneurship and business growth; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus encourage collaborations that produce advances in medicine and agriculture. Under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and includes 30 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit:

About iXpress: iXpressGenes is a synthetic biology company located at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Our company specializes in protein services and instrumentation, and protein and genetic engineering research. We support commercial, institutional and academic organizations. We have a special background in extremozymes, microgravity and trace fluorescent labeling. iXpressGenes has exclusive access to a suite of hyperthermophilic genomes from the deep sea vents of the Atlantic Ridge. Proteins and enzymes from these genomes have special qualities that are useful in engineering and metabolic reactions. Our team has deep experience in microgravity, having conducted several experiments on the International Space Station. These experiments have led us to diffraction studies in both X ray and neutron beam. Years of research in protein crystallization led us to a new technique that is highly effective in finding and discerning leads – trace fluorescent labeling. Our disciplines are in biochemistry, structural genomics and instrumentation.

Media Contact:
Margetta Thomas