General Description

XtalConcepts GmbH is a spin-off company of the Universities of Hamburg and Lübeck funded in 2012. XtalConcepts offers extensive and unique experience in dynamic light scattering technologies and methods. The company is specialized in the design, development and manufacturing of systems for the production of protein crystals; handling, scoring as well as imaging of protein crystallization setups and protein solutions.

Role and Commitment of key persons (including supervisors)

Annette Eckhardt, PhD, Managing Director
Karsten Dierks, PhD, Head of Research and Development
Arne Meyer, PhD, Leading Scientist Structural Biology

Academic Supervisor
Christian Betzel, PhD, professor. Institut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universität Hamburg.

Key Research Facilities and Infrastructure and Equipment

Portfolio and facilities comprise particular advanced crystallization manipulation, applying the patented XtalController technology, pre-and post-crystallization screening facilities including automatic in-situ DLS (SpectroLight 600), cuvette DLS (SpectroSize 300) and flow through, advanced technologies like depolarized dynamic light scattering (DDLS), multichannel-DLS (UDLS) and space resolved DLS (ODLS). The company has fully equipped mechanical, optical and electronic laboratories.

PhD supervisor: Dr Annette Eckhardt

SO = Scientific Objectives;
TO = Training Objectives.

SO1: Analysing controlled nucleation to prepare nano- and micro- crystals.
SO2: Design and construction of in situ dynamic light scattering to support sample on demand measurements.
SO3: Design of advanced sample delivery methods supporting pump probe experiments.

TO1: Training in the advanced in situ light scattering techniques.
TO2: Training in applying the XtalController methods for distinct crystal growth.
TO3: Training in scoring and preparing nano-crystal suspensions.

Designing crystallization experiments applying in situ dynamic light scattering to control nucleation and crystal growth towards controlled preparation of nano- and micro-sized crystals. The ESR will be trained applying complementary bioanalytical and biophysical methods to prepare nano-crystals and to prepare and score protein solutions for time resolved measurements. In situ– and flow-experiments with adapted multi-channel DLS systems allowing online analysis of sample solutions.

Involvement with other tasks: The ESR will be trained in data analysis and all methods of structure analysis. All partners of the research collaboration are invited to perform experiments with the XtalControlller setup.

Local Training: The ESR will be enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Hamburg (UHAM). Prof Christan Betzel will act as the Co-Supervisor. The ESR will benefit from courses offered in molecular life sciences and physics and local graduate schools, and soft- and key- skill courses offered by UHAM.


Real-Time Observation of Protein Dense Liquid Cluster Evolution during Nucleation in Protein Crystallization

Robin Schubert, Arne Meyer, Daniela Baitan, Karsten Dierks, Markus Perbandt, and Christian Betzel
Publication Date (Web): January 25, 2017 – Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society

nano and micro crystals, Dr Annette Eckhardt, nano-crystals, micro-crystals, dynamic light scattering, measurements, pump probe, experiments, scattering, XtalController, Xtal, crystal, crystal growth, suspensions, Daniela Baitan

Daniela Baitan

– MSc in Natural Sciences – IMACS, International Master in Advanced Clay Science (Erasmus Mundus)
Specialization: Advanced clays – Nanomaterials; Healing minerals.
University of Poitiers, Faculty of “Fundamentals and applied sciences”, Poitiers (France)
University of Aveiro, Department of GeoBiosciences, GEOBIOTEC, Aveiro (Portugal)
University of Ottawa, Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences, Ottawa (Canada)
Research Project: “Non-aqueous desorption studies for the recovery of bitumen, using kaolinite as a model compound ”. Internship at the University of Ottawa, Canada
2009-2013 – BSc in Chemical Engineering – Chemistry and Engineering of Organic Compounds, Petrochemistry and Carbochemistry.
Specialization: Organic technologies; Pharmaceutical technologies.
Technical University “Gheorghe Asachi”, Faculty of “Chemical Engineering and Environmental Protection”, Iasi (Romania)
Research Project: “Design of a technological facility for the production of Vinyl Chloride”.