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Structural biologists Jan Steyaert and Els Pardon have developed protein-imaging techniques using nanobodies.

Biologists Jan Steyaert and Els Pardon are using miniature versions of antibodies – components of the immune system – to visualize the delicate architecture of different types of proteins.

Known as nanobodies, they crystallise protein structures as a way of protecting them against the effects of invasive imaging procedures – a technique that has become highly sought-after by researchers working in drug design. Steyaert and Pardon, who are based at the VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium, have been working together on this approach for more than two decades.

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