Dr. John Henry Beale

John Beale photo

Serial Crystallography Beamline Scientist

Paul Scherrer Institute
Forschungsstrasse 111
5232 Villigen PSI


John received a BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London, UK before completing a DPhil in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, UK in membrane protein structural biology under the guidance of Prof. Simon Newstead. In 2016, John moved to the UK synchrotron facility, Diamond Light Source, where he developed serial crystallography techniques on beamline I24. John was then awarded a PSI-Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellowship in the MX group at PSI in 2019 to continue these investigations. John is now the serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) beamline scientist on Cristallina, the third experimental station of SwissFEL's ARAMIS beamline.

Scientific Research

Since 2018, John has tried to develop strategies to create the samples required for modern serial crystallography experiments at either synchrotrons or XFELs. These include methods to create large volumes of micro-crystals and fixed-target mounting and loading techniques. John is now also working towards the realization of a fixed-target endstation on Cristallina. The endstation's primary purpose will be high-throughput SFX for room-temperature time-resolved experiments.


An on-demand, drop-on-drop method for studying enzyme catalysis by serial crystallography. Butryn, A, Simon, PS, Aller, P, Hinchliffe, P, Massad, RN, Leen, G, Tooke, CL, Bogacz, I, Kim, I-S, Bhowmick, A, Brewster, AS, Devenish, NE, Brem, J, Kamps, JJAG, Lang, PA, Rabe, P, Axford, DN, Beale, JH, Davy, B, Ebrahim, A, Orlans, J, Storm, SLS, Zhou, T, Owada, S, Tanaka, R, Tono, K, Evans, G, Owen, RL, Houle, FA, Sauter, NK, Schofield, CJ, Spencer, J, Yachandra, VK, Yano, J, Kern, JK, Orville, AM. Nature Communications, (12) 4461 (2021).

Optimizing the Growth of Endothiapepsin Crystals for Serial Crystallography Experiments. Beale JH, Marsh ME. JoVE (168), e61896 (2021).

Anaerobic fixed-target serial crystallography. Rabe P, Beale JH, Butryn A, Aller P, Dirr A, Lang PA, Axford DN, Carr SB, Leissing TM, McDonough MA, Davy D, Ebrahim A, Orlans J, Storm SLS, Orville AM, Schofield CJ, Owen RL. IUCrJ, 7(5): (2020).

X-ray induced photoreduction of heme metal centers rapidly induces active site perturbations in a protein-independent manner Pfanzagl V, Beale JH, Michlits H, Schmidt D, Gabler T, Obinger C, Djinovic-Carugo K, Hofbauer S. Journal of Biological Chemistry, (2020).

Macromolecular X-ray crystallography: soon to be a road less travelled? Beale JH. Acta crystallographica. Section D, Structural biology, 76(5):400-405 (2020).

Successful sample preparation for serial crystallography experiments. Beale JH, Bolton R, Marshall SA, Beale EV, Carr SB, Ebrahim A, Moreno-Chicano T, Hough MA, Worrall JAR, Tews I, Owen RL. Journal of applied crystallography, 52(6):1385-1396 (2019).

High-throughput structures of protein-ligand complexes at room temperature using serial femtosecond crystallography. Moreno-Chicano T, Ebrahim A, Axford D, Appleby MV, Beale JH, Chaplin AK, Duyvesteyn HME, Ghiladi RA, Owada S, Sherrell DA, Strange RW, Sugimoto H, Owen RL, Hough MA. IUCrJ, 6(6):1074-1085 (2019).

Non-Contact Universal Sample Presentation for Room Temperature Macromolecular Crystallography Using Acoustic Levitation. Morris RH, Dye ER, Axford D, Newton MI, Beale JH, Docker PT. Scientific reports, 9(1):12431 (2019).

Reducing sample consumption for serial crystallography using acoustic drop ejection. Davy B, Axford D, Beale JH, Butryn A, Docker P, Ebrahim A, Leen G, Orville AM, Owen RL, Aller P. Journal of synchrotron radiation, 26(5):1820-1825 (2019).

Dose-resolved serial synchrotron and XFEL structures of radiation-sensitive metalloproteins. Ebrahim A, Moreno-Chicano T, Appleby MV, Chaplin AK, Beale JH, Sherrell DA, Duyvesteyn HME, Owada S, Tono K, Sugimoto H, Strange RW, Worrall JAR, Owen RL, Hough MA. IUCrJ, 6(4):543-551 (2019).

How best to use photons. Winter G, Gildea RJ, Paterson NG, Beale JH, Gerstel M, Axford D, Vollmar M, McAuley KE, Owen RL, Flaig R, Ashton AW, Hall DR. Acta crystallographica. Section D, Structural biology, 75(3):242-261 (2019).

Resolving polymorphs and radiation-driven effects in microcrystals using fixed-target serial synchrotron crystallography. Ebrahim A, Appleby MV, Axford D, Beale JH, Moreno-Chicano T, Sherrell DA, Strange RW, Hough MA, Owen RL. Acta crystallographica. Section D, Structural biology, 75(2):151-159 (2019).

Crystal Structures of the Extracellular Domain from PepT1 and PepT2 Provide Novel Insights into Mammalian Peptide Transport. Beale JH, Parker JL, Samsudin F, Barrett AL, Senan A, Bird LE, Scott D, Owens RJ, Sansom MSP, Tucker SJ, Meredith D, Fowler PW, Newstead S. Structure, 23(10):1889-1899 (2015).

Structure of the aliphatic sulfonate-binding protein SsuA from Escherichia coli. Beale JH, Lee SY, Iwata S, Beis K. Acta crystallographica. Section F, Structural biology and crystallization communications, 66:391-396 (2010).