Thomas Grant, PhD

Staff Scientist

Our Work

Our work is focused on making advances in the development of tools to analyze data being captured at some of the most advances X-ray sources in the world. With these X-rays we can determine what things look like at a molecular level, and when we are very successful, we can even see how they move.

A Deeper Understanding

Determining the molecular structures of biological molecules is pivotal to understanding the processes and mechanisms of life. Our team’s aim is to use new technologies such as X-ray free electron lasers to understand not only the structures of these molecules, but also their dynamics, how they move and interact with each other and their environment. The primary methods we use to do this are time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography and time-resolved solution X-ray scattering.

Ultimately the goal of understanding dynamics in biological systems is to create molecular movies at ultra-fast timescales, enabling us to watch molecular reactions as they take place for the first time. This will impact many different areas of study, including seeing advances in understanding photosynthesis to create new sources of energy, understanding how molecular machines operate in the cell, and understanding the causes and potential treatments of various diseases.


Zhang H, Qiao A, Yang D, Yang L, Dai A, de Graaf C, Reedtz-Runge S, Dharmarajan V, Zhang H, Han GW, Grant TD, Sierra RG, Weierstall U, Nelson G, Liu W, Wu Y, Ma L, Cai X, Lin G, Wu X, Geng Z, Dong Y, Song G, Griffin PR, Lau J, Cherezov V, Yang H, Hanson MA, Stevens RC, Zhao Q, Jiang H, Wang MW, Wu B. Structure of the full-length glucagon class B G-protein-coupled receptor. Nature. 2017 [Epub ahead of print]

Stagno JR, Liu Y, Bhandari YR, Conrad CE, Panja S, Swain M, Fan L, Nelson G, Li C, Wendel DR, White TA, Coe JD, Wiedorn MO, Knoska J, Oberthuer D, Tuckey RA, Yu P, Dyba M, Tarasov SG, Weierstall U, Grant TD, Schwieters CD, Zhang J, Ferré-D’Amaré AR, Fromme P, Draper DE, Liang M, Hunter MS, Boutet S, Tan K, Zuo X, Ji X, Barty A, Zatsepin NA, Chapman HN, Spence JC, Woodson SA, Wang YX. Structures of riboswitch RNA reaction states by mix-and-inject XFEL serial crystallography. Nature. 2017;541:242-246.

Ishigami I, Zatsepin NA, Hikita M, Conrad CE, Nelson G, Coe JD, Basu S, Grant TD, Seaberg MH, Sierra RG, Hunter MS, Fromme P, Fromme R, Yeh SR, Rousseau DL. Crystal structure of CO-bound cytochrome c oxidase determined by serial femtosecond X-ray crystallography at room temperature. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Jul 25;114(30):8011-8016.

Our Group


Thomas Grant, PhD
T: 716 898 8675