Center for X-Ray Determination of the Structure of Matter (CXDS)

The Center for X-Ray Determination of the Structure of Matter (CXDS) aims to promote research at the interface between biomedical science, materials science and nanoscience.

Specific objectives include:

  • Contributing toward the birth of structural biology in Egypt and the initiation of collaboration between Egyptian scientists and the international community with a focus on various X-Ray sources and methods.
  • Supporting the structural investigation of small molecules and thin films, with applications toward sensors, nanodevices and structures of new materials.  
  • Enabling atomic-scale resolution of structures and biophysical data for drug discovery projects at Zewail City and other Egyptian institutions. 


The center’s first project will be titled Riboswitch RNA as Nature’s “Smart Molecule”: To Determine the Mechanism of Coupling Between Bio-sensing and Signaling. 

This project will initiate the center’s focus on interactions of proteins and small molecules with nucleic acids. Structural biology is at the core of cutting edge technologies for the development of new therapeutics. The CXDS, by integrating structure-based methods into Egyptian drug discovery efforts, will enable Egypt to contribute to international efforts in this field. Some of these efforts can be directed towards diseases of special concern in Egypt and the region, including hepatitis C virus and other infectious diseases. 

The CXDS will collaborate closely with new structural biology programs at Cairo University and Helwan University. In addition, the center’s director, Dr. Fareed Aboul-ela, has established collaborations with colleagues at Rutgers University (U.S.), Louisiana State University (U.S.), and the University of Strasbourg (France). Dr. Aboul-ela has published a number of papers on this subject and related areas.