Sixth BioCrys Course held at the ITQB
Oeiras, 20th - 27th October 2012
The sixth BioCrys Course on 'Fundamentals of modern methods in biocrystallography, organised by Maria Arménia Carrondo (ITQB Oeiras, Portugal) and Thomas Schneider (EMBL Hamburg, Germany) took place at the Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica in Oeiras (Portugal) from 20-27 October 2012. The course was supported by FEBS, IUCR, Biostruct-X and IUBMB. It brought together 38 students from 19 different countries and 20 tutors from 9 different countries. Subtitled 'What you always wanted to know about crystallography but never dared to ask', the course aimed at teaching the fundamental concepts of macromolecular crystallography to scientists in the early stage of their crystallographic career. This is particularly important as the field is developing very rapidly and because many young researchers do not receive a formal education in Crystallography. In fact, while learning the efficient use of automated tools in crystallography, it is also critical to understand the underlying concepts for tackling difficult problems of structural biology that are not amenable to the current generation of these tools. Lectures and tutorials covered topics all the way from the cooling of crystals to the validation of the final structural model. A typical day began at 9:00h with a 15 min. recapitulation of the concepts discussed during the previous day given by Thomas Schneider. Lectures ran from 9:15h to 13:00h and interactive practicals and tutorials from 14:00h to 17:30h.
Although the program was extensive, there was plenty of opportunity for all participants to interact outside the formal program of the course. In particular, the fact that all participants were staying in the same hotel provided a good environment to mix and to talk to each other, not necessarily always about crystallographic subjects. We thank our sponsors for the support that made possible to organize the sixth edition of this course on the fundamentals of crystallography. All speakers/tutors are thanked for their dedication and their continuous commitment to this course.
Computational Tools Workshop held at the Weizmann Institute of Science
Rehovot, 2nd - 6th September 2012
Course participants on a tour of Jerusalem
The Weizmann Institute of Science held a ‘hands-on’ workshop on “The use of Computational tools for Modeling of Multi-molecular Assemblies and protein design” from 2-6 Sep-2012 at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, where 18 students from 8 different countries took part.
The course consisted of a series of lectures followed by hands-on tutorials where the participants could learn in depth the use of various new computational methods (algorithms) and programs that they were learning. The worship was organized by Prof. Gideon Schreiber, of the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the lecturers were Prof. Haim Wolfson (Tel-Aviv University), Dr. Sarel Fleishman, Dr. Jaime Prilusky and Prof. Joel L. Sussman (Weizmann Institute of Science).
The goal of the workshop was to introduce the participants to state of the art computational methods (algorithms) for the following tasks; 1) Modeling of macromolecular assemblies based on experimental information obtained from various sources. This includes docking and the assembly of large macromolecular structures, 2) Learning to use the Rosetta macromolecular modeling suite with a focus on the design of molecular recognition, 3) Learn how to use Proteopedia to create WEB pages of macromolecular structures and their functions.
First course held at the BioStruct-X TID centre in Oulu
Oulu, 30 January - 3 February 2012
20 students from across the world took part in the Data to Structures course held at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oulu in Finland from the 30th January to 3rd February 2012. The 5 day course included lectures, demos and hand-on tutorials. The stimulating atmosphere made for lively discussions and a very successful course.
The course program began with lectures on key aspects of protein crystallographic methods before moving onto topcis of data collection, including a data collection demonstration using the institute’s new Bruker microstar setup as well as a demonstration of remote data collection at Diamond Light Source (UK). The data processing lectures and tutorials were on XDS, iMOSFLM and PROTEUM2. The program also included a lecture on solving the heavy atom substructure, with the SHELX suite of programs, as well as CCP4MG and PiMS/XtalPiMS. These topics were also covered by lectures and tutorials.
The participants were very active and the feedback given reflected their enthusiasm. Several students bought their own data with them to work on with the tutors, and would have liked even more time to discuss their work. Rik Wierenga and his team at Oulu were satisfied with the event and have collected food for thought on how to make future events even more successful.